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Sega Dreamcast
Dreamcast logo.svg
Sega-dreamcast-set.png

NTSC Dreamcast with PAL controller and VMU
Manufacturer Sega
Type Video game console
Generation Sixth generation era
Retail availability JP November 27, 1998
NA September 9, 1999
EU September 14, 1999
AUS September 14, 1999
PAL December 3, 1999
Discontinued NA: February 14, 2002
EU: 2002
AUS: 2002
JP: March 8, 2002
Units sold 10.6 million[1][2]
Media CD, 1.2 GB GD-ROM
CPU 200 MHz Hitachi SH4 RISC
Storage capacity VMU, Nexus Memory Card, Zip Drive (unreleased)
Graphics 100 MHz PowerVR2 CLX2
Online services SegaNet, Dreamarena
Best-selling game Sonic Adventure, 2.5 million (as of June 2006)[3]
Predecessor Sega Saturn

The Dreamcast (Japanese: ドリームキャスト Dorīmukyasuto?) was the last video game console made by Sega, and is the successor to the Sega Saturn. The Dreamcast is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles and was released in late 1998, before its contemporaries—the PlayStation 2, the Nintendo GameCube and the Xbox.

Sega discontinued the Dreamcast in North America in November 2001 and withdrew entirely from the console hardware business. However, support of the system continued in Europe and Oceania until 2002, as well as in Japan, where consoles were still sold until 2006 and new licensed games continued to be released.

According to Bernie Stolar, former President and CEO of Sega of America, the Dreamcast was discontinued because the new chairman of Sega wanted the company to focus on software.[4]

Despite its short lifespan, the Dreamcast was widely hailed as ahead of its time, and 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.[5][6] As of 2010, the console is still supported through various homebrew video game releases.

Contents

History

Mainboard of a Dreamcast console

In 1997, the Saturn was struggling in North America, and Sega of America president Bernie Stolar pressed for Sega's Japanese headquarters to develop a new platform. Two competing teams were tasked with developing the console–a skunkworks group headed by IBM researcher Tatsuo Yamamoto and another team led by Sega hardware engineer Hideki Sato.

Sato and his group chose the Hitachi SH4 processor architecture and the VideoLogic PowerVR2 graphics processor for their prototype. Yamamoto and his Skunkworks group also opted for the SH4, but with 3dfx hardware. Initially Sega opted to use the skunkworks group's 3dfx-based hardware, allegedly even suggesting to 3dfx that they would do so. However, they eventually chose Sato's PowerVR based design. Sega's shift in design prompted a lawsuit by 3dfx that was eventually settled.[7][8][9][10] The operating system used by some Dreamcast titles was developed by Microsoft after 2 years of work with Sega. It was an optimized version of Windows CE supporting DirectX.[11]

The Dreamcast was released in November 1998 in Japan; on September 9, 1999 in North America and on October 14, 1999 in Europe. Despite problems with the Japan launch,[6] the system's launch in the United States was successful. In the United States alone, a record 300,000 units[12] had been pre-ordered[6] and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including a record 225,132 sold during the first 24 hours). In fact, due to brisk sales and hardware shortages, Sega was unable to fulfill all of the advance orders. Sega confirmed that it made US$98.4 million on combined hardware and software sales with Dreamcast with its September 9, 1999 launch.[13] Four days after its launch in the US, Sega stated 372,000 units were sold bringing in US$132 million in sales.[6]

Launch titles such as Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, Power Stone, and Hydro Thunder helped Dreamcast succeed in the first year.[14] Sega Sports titles helped fill the void left by a lack of Electronic Arts sports games on the system.[15] Dreamcast sales grew 156.5% from July 23, 2000 to September 30, 2000 putting Sega ahead of the Nintendo 64 in that period.[16] However, Sony's launch of the much-hyped PlayStation 2 that year marked the beginning of the end for the Dreamcast.[17]

On January 31, 2001, Sega announced that it was ending production of Dreamcast hardware by March of that year[18] although the 50 to 60 titles still in production would be published.[citation needed] The last North American release was NHL 2K2, which was released in February 2002. With the company announcing no plans to develop a next-generation successor to Dreamcast, this was Sega's last foray into the home console business.

During the following years, unreleased games like Propeller Arena and Half-Life were leaked on the Internet through warez groups and independent hackers.

Although production of the Dreamcast ended, commercial games were still developed and published by Sega of Japan. Many of these were initially developed for Sega's NAOMI arcade hardware, including Sega's final first-party Dreamcast game, Sonic Team's Puyo Pop Fever, released on February 24, 2004.[19]

The last Dreamcast units were sold through the Sega Direct division of Japan in early 2006. These refurbished units were bundled with Radilgy[19], and a phone card. The last Dreamcast games published by Sega of Japan were the 2007 releases Trigger Heart Exelica and Karous.[19]

Through a free software development kit called KallistiOS, software support of the console continues with homebrew games, emulators and utilities being released for the system. These include the 2009 unlicensed commercial releases Last Hope: Pink Bullets, Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles and DUX. Several Dreamcast emulation projects have also emerged including Chankast and nullDC.

Models

Due to its short production span, only a few official Dreamcast models were released. The primary models released in 1999 had a grey tint and a weaker and quieter system fan while the later models of 2000 were white colored with a stronger system fan and a faster, louder laser disc reader.[citation needed] The later model disc drives did not feature faster load times but protected against piracy somewhat since some CD-R and CD-RW discs would not load on these drives, while discs burned at certain speeds will not load at all. The power light, like the Dreamcast logo in NTSC regions, was orange. In the PAL Regions, the logo was blue. This was changed to avoid copyright confliction with the German video game/DVD publisher Tivola, whom already used an orange swirl as their company logo.

Some special Dreamcast models were released in certain regions. In North America, a limited edition black Dreamcast was released with a Sega Sports logo below the Dreamcast logo on the lid, along with matching Sega Sports-branded black controllers. Electronics Boutique offered a blue Dreamcast through its website. In Japan, Sega released many varieties of the system, including a pink Sakura Taisen version, and a Hello Kitty version released in 2000 in Japan which, due to its limited production, has become an extremely rare collector's piece. The package contains a keyboard, controller, VMU, mouse, and a Hello Kitty trivia game. The console and accessories came in both translucent pink and blue in color with some printed designs.

Japan also saw the release of two limited edition Dreamcasts based on Capcom's Resident Evil Code: Veronica game, one a clear pink Claire Redfield model that included a copy of the game and a special pink VMU and also a clear dark blue model that also included the game and a blue VMU. The blue model had the Resident Evil trademark S.T.A.R.S. logo on the lid. Sega also released the limited R7 ("Regulation#7," referring to the second provision of the first section of regulation seven in the Japanese penal code pertaining to businesses that are deemed to affect public morals) Dreamcast in Japan. This model consists of a special refurbished Dreamcast unit that was originally used as a network console in Japanese pachinko parlors, in a newly designed black case with a black controller in a black retail box, all marked with R7 branding. Due to its late date of release and common availability, it is considered one of the more easily obtained limited edition Dreamcast units by collectors.

Hardware and accessories

Internal view of a Dreamcast console including optical drive, power supply, controller ports, and cooling fan

Technical specifications

The system's processor is a 200 MHz SH-4 with an on-die 128-bit vector graphics engine, 360 MIPS and 1.4 GFLOPS (single precision), using the vector graphics engine. The graphics hardware is a PowerVR2 CLX2 chipset, capable of 7.0 million polygons/second peak performance and trilinear filtering. Graphics hardware effects include gouraud shading, z-buffering, anti-aliasing, per-pixel translucency sorting and bump mapping. The system supports approximately 16.78 million colors (24-bit) color output and displays interlaced or progressive scan video at 640x480 video resolution.

For sound, the system features a Yamaha AICA Sound Processor with a 22.5 MHz 32-Bit ARM7 RISC CPU operating at 45 MHz,[20] 64 channel PCM/ADPCM sampler (4:1 compression), XG MIDI support and 128 step DSP.

The Dreamcast has 16 MB 64 Bit 100 MHz of main RAM, 8 MB 4x16-bit 100 MHz video RAM and 2 MB 16-bit 66 MHz sound RAM.[21] The hardware supports VQ Texture Compression at either asymptotically 2bpp or even 1bpp [22]

The system reads media using a 12x maximum speed (Constant Angular Velocity) Yamaha GD-ROM Drive. The Dreamcast can also read data from a Visual Memory Unit ("VMU") removable storage device and 4x memory cards that hold four times as much data. Input devices such as game controllers are connected to four USB-like "Maple Bus" ports.

A black 56k Dreamcast modem

Built-in modem

In most regions the Dreamcast included a removable modem. The original Asia/Japan model had a 33.6 kbit/s; consoles sold in Japan after September 9, 1999 had a 56 kbit/s modem. All American models had a 56 kbit/s modem, while all PAL models had a 33.6 kbit/s modem. Brazilian models manufactured under license by Tec Toy did not include a modem, which was available separately. The regular modem could be replaced with a broadband adapter that was sold separately.

Accessories

Various accessories for the Dreamcast were released, by both third parties and Sega itself. Among the most notable ones are the Dreamcast VGA adapter which allowed Dreamcast games to be played on computer displays or High-definition television sets in 480p (progressive scan) and the VMU accessory - a memory card with a small screen that provided a variety of functions for various games. Also made available for specific games were the arcade stick and light gun controllers.

A special link cable was produced allowing the Dreamcast to interact with the Neo Geo Pocket Color[23][24]. As the Neo Geo Pocket Color was unsuccessful in western regions very few games took advantage of this feature.

Games

As of November 2007, the Dreamcast has 688 official games available in its library. There are also numerous homebrew games for the Dreamcast and games continue to be released by certain companies.[25] Games were sold in jewel cases; jewel cases in Europe were twice as thick as their North American counterparts, possibly to have space for thick, multilingual instruction manuals.

Among the official games are Dreamcast online games that could be played over the Internet. The online servers were run by SegaNet, Dreamarena, and GameSpy networks. Online game support was particularly popular in Japan, with releases of network compatible games such as Tech Romancer and Project Justice. Web browsers were developed by independent companies such as Planetweb to allow access to web sites and included features like Java, uploads, movies, and mouse support. Dreamarena came with games such as Sonic Adventure, and Chu Chu Rocket.

There are five games that can still be played online. Quake III Arena and Maximum Pool are still accessible via various servers. 4x4 Evolution and Starlancer are still online through Gamespy. SEGA Swirl can be also be played online with its play by e-mail game. Phantasy Star Online has private servers where people can use an action replay to bypass the online check and connect to the server.

References

  1. ^ Blake Snow (2007-05-04). "The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time". GamePro.com. http://www.gamepro.com/article/features/111822/the-10-worst-selling-consoles-of-all-time/. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  2. ^ Russell Carroll (2005-09-06). "Good Enough: Why graphics aren't number one". Game Tunnel. http://www.gametunnel.com/articles.php?id=263. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  3. ^ Daniel Boutros (2006-08-04). "Sonic Adventure". A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games. Gamasutra. http://gamasutra.com/features/20060804/boutros_07.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 
  4. ^ http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/qaa-former-sega-president-on-dreamcasts-failure-pranks-against-sony-his-ouster.html
  5. ^ "Dreamcast Connects Console Gamers". GameSpy. July 2003. http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/july03/25smartest/index17.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Sega Dreamcast". Game Makers. G4 (TV channel), Los Angeles. 2008-08-20. No. 302.
  7. ^ ElectronicNews Newspaper, Inc. (1997) 3Dfx sues Sega, NEC over contract Published Sept 8, 1997. Retrieved on 12 February 2009 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EKF/is_n2184_v43/ai_19746977
  8. ^ ElectronicNews Newspaper, Inc. (1997) 3Dfx sues Sega, NEC over contract p1 - Citing 3Dfx Director of investor relations Laura Onopchenko; "Sega intentionally led 3Dfx to believe that Sega was committed to the 3Dfx chipset for Sega's new game console, while knowing that it would ultimately choose to use the NEC chipset [,]"
  9. ^ ElectronicNews Newspaper, Inc. (1997) 3Dfx sues Sega, NEC over contract p1 - Citing 3Dfx Director of investor relations Laura Onopchenko; "Sega received under the false pretenses of the development contract, confidential design and development information and materials, all of which were proprietary and highly confidential property of 3Dfx."
  10. ^ BusinessWire, Inc (1998). 3Dfx, Sega, NEC and VideoLogic settle 3Dfx[]lawsuit Published on August 4, 1998. Retrieved from http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/legal-services-litigation/6861052-1.html on February 12, 2009.
  11. ^ http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1998/May98/Segagmpr.mspx
  12. ^ Maclean's 24 September 1999.
  13. ^ "Dreamcast beats Playstation record". BBC News. 1999-11-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/534957.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  14. ^ "Dreamcast Museum". Chronicgames.net. http://www.chronicgames.net/articles/dreamcast-museum.aspx. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  15. ^ "Sega Sports NFL 2K1 Outsells the Competition on Its Debut; First Ever Online Console Game NFL 2K1 Becomes Number One Football Game This Fall". Business Wire. November 28, 2000. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2000_Nov_28/ai_67385294?tag=artBody;col1. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  16. ^ "Price Cut Leads to Surge in Dreamcast Sales". Manjiro Works. http://www.manjiro.com/japannewsocttodec2000.html#anchor113244. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  17. ^ "PlayStation 2 Timeline". GameSpy. p. 3. http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/february04/ps2timeline/index2.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  18. ^ "Sega Scraps the Dreamcast". BBC. 2001-01-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1145936.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  19. ^ a b c "Sega of Japan Dreamcast Release List". Sega of Japan. http://sega.jp/dc. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  20. ^ "Sega Dreamcast Review Part 1". FiringSquad.com. 1999-09-07. http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/dreamcasthw/page2.asp. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  21. ^ In this article, the conventional prefixes for computer memory denote base-2 values whereby “kilobyte” (KB) = 210 bytes, “megabyte” (MB) = 220 bytes.
  22. ^ "Texture Compression using Low-Frequency Signal Modulation". ACM/Eurographics. 2003-07-26. http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&id=844187. 
  23. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/neopocket/file/916527/8656
  24. ^ http://www.dreamcast-scene.com/index.php/Main/NeoGeoPocketLinkCable
  25. ^ MobyGames Staff, ed (2006). "MobyGames Game Browser — Dreamcast". MobyGames. http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dreamcast/o,1/. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:Sega Dreamcast article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Sega Dreamcast
The console image for Sega Dreamcast.
Manufacturer Sega
Active 19982002
Total Games 707 (62 present)
← Sega Saturn (none) →

The Sega Dreamcast (code-named "Blackbelt", "Dural" and "Katana" during development) was Sega's last video game console, released on November 27, 1998 in Japan, on September 9, 1999 in the United States and on October 14, 1999 in Europe. Based on a similar hardware structure as Sega's NAOMI arcade machine, it was designed to supersede Sony's PlayStation and Nintendo's Nintendo 64.

Although generally considered to be "ahead of its time" - it was the first console with online gaming out of the box and high-definition output (at 480p via the VGA adaptor) - and a strong debut in the American market, the Dreamcast failed to gather enough momentum before the release of the PlayStation 2 a year later.

After the Dreamcast was discontinued, Sega withdrew from the console hardware business, becoming a third-party developer. In this position, Sega have released numerous games for Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube, with reasonable success.

Notable features

  • Four controller ports
  • Up to 8 memory card slots in controllers
  • Built-in 56k modem for online play and internet browsing
  • Operating system based on Microsoft Windows CE
  • Hi-def VGA output via an adaptor

Pages in category "Sega Dreamcast"

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Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Sega Dreamcast article)

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Sega Dreamcast
Manufacturer Sega
Type Console
Release Date November 27, 1998 JP

September 9, 1999 NA
October 14, 1999 EU

Media GD-ROM
Save Format Memory Card, VMU
Input Options Controller
Special Features SegaNet, Dreamarena
Units Sold 10.6 million worldwide
Top Selling Game Sonic Adventure
Variants
Competitor(s) PlayStation 2
GameCube
Predecessor Sega Saturn
Successor


The last home console to be released by Sega.

Widely considered to have the best launch lineup of any console made before or since. Launch titles included Sonic Adventure, Virtua Fighter 3 TB, House of the Dead 2, and Soul Calibur.

Launch dates:

The Sega Dreamcast is/was a powerful console system designed primarily for arcade games. It was the first machine released in a new generation of game consoles. One of the features of the Dreamcast is a built-in modem and a broadband adapter. In early to mid 1997, it became known that Sega was working on its successor to the Saturn, code-named Black Belt. 3Dfx was approached in order to design the graphics processor for the console, however, in June of that year Sega dropped them in favor of their long-time rival NEC.

The decision to favor the NEC over the 3Dfx was because Sega had two design concepts drawn up by its teams in America and Japan. The American team chose the IBM/Motorolla PowerPC 603e as the processor and a custom version of 3Dfx's Voodoo 3 as the graphics processor. The Japanese team chose the Hitachi SH4 along with the NEC PowerVR2 graphics processor. The new project was named Katana and announced to the public by that name on September 7, 1997.

On May 21, 1998 Sega unveiled its next-generation console called Dreamcast to the world. It was the first console to be 128-bit and have a 56kbps modem. This allowed users access to the internet for web browsing, chat, email and online gaming, Phantasy Star Online and other games. The Dreamcast was made available to the public that Autumn at the Tokyo Game Show along with a range of upcoming titles for the first 128-bit console to hit the market. Capcom showcased their Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Sega showed off its Sonic Adventure and Virtua Fighter 3tb games. Over a month later, on November 27, 1998, the Dreamcast was finally released to the Japanese public. The European release came on October 14, 1999.

In March 2001, production of the Dreamcast was ceased and Sega announces that they are leaving the hardware business all together to focus on writing games for various other consoles.

Technical Specs

  • CPU: 128-bit Hitachi SH-4 RISC processor (200MHz 360 MIPS)
  • Graphics: NEC CLX2 processor
  • RAM: 16MB, 8MB Video RAM, 2MB Sound RAM
  • Colors: 16.7 million
  • Polygons: 3 million per second
  • Game Media: 1.2GB GD-ROM, 12x access speed
  • Resolution: 640x480 pixels
  • Sound: Yamaha 64 channel
  • Operating System: Custom Windows CE with DirectX support
  • Modem: 56Kbps (US/JP NTSC), 33.3Kbps (PAL)

The Dreamcast has enjoyed a 'second life' due to the extremely active homebrew and emulation community.

See Also

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