In this thread over on reddit, some users have been discussing what a Dreamcast 2.0 would like and one user, leftboot, even went as far as to make this mock logo for the hypothetical console. All of this got me thinking: maybe it actually is time for Sega to re-enter the console market.
A lot has changed in the decade or so since the release of the Dreamcast and I would argue that most of them have been in Sega’s favor. Many of the riskier moves on the Dreamcast that didn’t pay off as well as they might have hoped – like online play – are now staple features in console gaming. When pursuing my master’s degree, I had a professor comment that “being ahead of your time” is often a bad thing in business – he was right, of course, in that the Dreamcast was launched at a time that ended up working to its disadvantage. Now, however, things have changed and perhaps this is actually the opportune moment for Sega.
Let’s be honest: the next generation of consoles is not shaping up very well so far. Sales for the Wii U are weak and they’re hurting Nintendo’s bottom line – arguably making this the first time ever that Nintendo has stumbled out of the gate with a home console. As the previous article mentions, Nintendo will probably be O.K. once some of the major first-party titles are released, but so far there has been no title (such as a new Super Smash Bros. game) that has really forced anyone to upgrade yet.
Luckily for Nintendo – and possibly Sega? – Microsoft’s next launch is actually doing even worse. The Xbox One is essentially a perfect storm of awful. Everything users hate about modern gaming (absurd subscription requirements, tacky gimmicks for their own sake, too much integration with non-gaming functions, costly subscriptions, etc.) is somehow present in spades. People hate everything from the name to the Kinect requirements and privacy concerns (the link here is a story-stream that will continue to update) to the implementation of digital rights management that will severely limit used gaming markets. Sharing games with friends? That appears to be a thing of the past.
There’s just not much to like here and I can’t see myself ever buying an Xbox One under these circumstances unless some things change in a major way. I would love to hope that Sony will get their act together and put out something better with the PS4, but given the fact that Sony is essentially the king of violating their customers’ privacy concerns – anyone else remember the insane BMG rootkit scandal? – I don’t exactly have high hopes here. Let’s keep in mind here that Sony struggled to even notify customers of an EXTERNAL privacy breach and when asked why they couldn’t even send out an email for so long, they refused to answer even Congress. If this is who we’re counting on to meet privacy standards, then I think it’s safe to go ahead and say we’re screwed.
Admittedly, I can see circumstances in which I will buy a Wii U – with a price drop and a new Pikmin game, it’s not impossible I’ll throw Nintendo some of my money…but I don’t really see the Wii U ever being my main console, much like how I have a Wii, but the PS3 is still my go-to gaming-machine. Right now, however, I don’t really see myself running to either Sony or Microsoft. A new Dreamcast? I’d run like Sonic the Hedgehog for that right now.
The Dreamcast 2.0 has the potential to be the system we need right now. It would be a console with fun online gaming and minimal intrusion, quality first-party franchises – I can’t be the only one who would love to see a new Nights into Dreams… game for a platform that’s not the Sega Saturn or who has fond memories of playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on Dreamcast – and it would even be made by a company I could vaguely trust. Right now, I would say that’s just about the best we can ask for.
So what would happen if Sega launched a new Dreamcast? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d camp out for that console – just like I used to do for Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. Their days appear to be numbered without serious changes, but maybe Sega’s are about to start again.