Farewell, Dreamcast

The vultures appear to be looming over Sega.
The embattled company was first out the gate
with the first of the next-generation consoles.


Also of note was Sega’s decision to outfit the
Dreamcast console with a built-in modem,
thereby creating the first online console.


The innovation didn’t stop there. Sega went on
to create the first gaming ISP for the Dreamcast
(although open to PC owners too). Called
SegaNet and created specifically for low latency
gaming in mind, the service would do what no
other service has ever done for consoles:
create an online hub for Dreamcast gamers
where they could interact and compete in
multiplayer games.


SegaNet opened gamers up
to multiplayer gaming, something that has been
gaining momentum and popularity among PC
gamers in the last few years. Alas, it didn’t
appear to be enough push Sega out of the red
ink.


According to a story in The Nihon Keizai
Shimbun, Sega is planning to stop the
production of Dreamcast by the end of March.
The article states that Sega is no longer
accepting preorders for its console and is only
assembling units from parts in its existing
inventory.


Furthermore, the article suggests that
after Dreamcast production has been halted,
Sega will then concentrate its efforts on creating
software and games for rival companies like
Sony, Nintendo and possibly for Microsoft’s
Xbox.


As far as the news goes, some might say that this
story is not newsworthy at all, because
unconfirmed reports of Sega developing games
for rival companies have been around for
months, however this time things are slightly
different.


Sega has issued a statement earlier
this week saying that the company will not
comment on any rumors. Few weeks ago, when
The New York Times published a story on a
possible Nintendo – Sega merger, both
companies denied the rumors, but no statement
have been made regarding possible
partnerships or otherwise mutual deals.


In October of last year, when Sega posted yet
another quarterly loss it also announced a new
business plan for the future of the company and
the new plan clearly stated that Sega will be
getting out of console hardware.


The plan also
vaguely spoke of other new ventures like
set-top boxes and cell phones. To underscore
the uncertainty of these times for Sega and the
industry, shares in Sega traded up to 19 percent
higher upon speculation. Sega’s exit from console
manufacturing appears

to be an attractive
solution, not only to industry pundits but to
investors as well.


And Sega has already made deals with Motorola
to develop games for cell phones and the
mysterious PC card that will enable PC owners
to play Dreamcast games is also slowly
creeping towards the shelves. Plus there is word
of the Dreamcast platform making its way to set
top boxes from other manufacturers. Sega is
one of the top players in the market and like it
or not, it’s not going anywhere even if the
Dreamcast is gone.

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