Sega Dreamcast (PAL version)
Released less than three years after their previous console, the Saturn, Sega were determined to get a new console to market well ahead of their rivals, particularly Sony.
The Dreamcast was designed to be a powerful, but cheap to produce machine, unlike the Saturn which had a very complicated build, it was released by Sega in November 1998 in Japan and in late 1999 in other territories.
Dreamcast sales were positive during launch, with a solid line up of software, but the machine was not compatible with the Saturn, or any of its peripherals, so when Sony announced the PlayStation 2, with news of backwards compatibility with the Playstation, and a built in DVD player, sales of the Dreamcast plummeted, desperate attempts to bolster sales, such as selling a separate cheap DVD player with the console did little to help.
With a string of hardware failures behind them, falling consumer confidence, and little in the way of marketing budgets to counter Sony, Sega came to the realization that it did not have the resources to compete in the console market, so the Dreamcast was discontinued as early as March 2001, with the aim of becoming just a software publisher, they would concentrate on producing titles for their once bitter rivals Nintendo and Sony, and of course Microsoft when they entered the market.
Software support of the system continued in Europe and Oceania until the end of 2002, while in Japan, consoles were still sold until 2007, and new licensed games continued to be released nearly a decade after Sega’s withdrawal from the market.
Despite its short lifespan, the Dreamcast was widely hailed as ahead of its time. It saw the release of many new game series which have been considered creative and innovative, such as Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, and Shenmue, which was the most expensive game produced at the time. The console itself is still held in high regard for pioneering online console gaming; it was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for online play.