Digital Essay 3: Sega Dreamcast – Forgotten Hero

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Sega Dreamcast: Console of the Future

Sega Dreamcast and SegaNet changed the face of the gaming even though it was quite short lived. The Sega Dreamcast was introduced to the world in 1998 as an innovative gamming console that featured new ways to experience games including one innovative inventions, online gaming. The Dreamcast did not succeed for long as the Playstation 2 came out shortly after offering more power and wider range of games. Dreamcast was forgotten but its online feature was not. Consoles after would standardize the online gaming tool changing the way people experienced gaming.

The Sad Tail of Sega Dreamcast and SegaNet

David Matthews describes the sad history of Sega Dreamcast in his article “Fifteen years after its death, the SEGA Dreamcast is still going strong” writing, “Featuring twice the graphical and CPU power of the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, a built-in modem for online gaming, and LED display-capable controllers, the Dreamcast was the console of the future. Until, um, it wasn’t”. The Sega Dreamcast was offering something that no other console during that time was offering, online accessibility. The online component was a network called Sega Net and it connected players to the online Sega community where people could chat, email, play games with friends and more. The CEO of the Sega, Brad Huang recognized that online gaming was the way of the future so he staked it all on this new console to take over that future. Unfortunately for him and the company, PlayStation 2 came out taking over the market and kicking Sega Dreamcast to the curb. Sega tried everything to boost their sales by offering discounted rates on the Dreamcast or by coupling free hour of SegaNet with the purchase of the console. Eventually the price went down to a whopping $49 from its original $199. The company suffered a $400 million dollar loss and had to lay off nearly 1/3 of its workforce to stay a float. Though its history is tragic, the Dreamcast paved the way for a new experience, online gaming.

Online Gaming Now

The CEO of Sega was correct in thinking that online gaming was the future. The online networking became a major component in modern console. Xbox Live was one of the first online gaming networks to come out after the SegaNet. The service offered the ability to play most games online with your friends on different servers and even used audio chat. Xbox Live created an award system called Achievements that helped create online competition and leaderboards. Online gaming has created a new form of connectivity between players. Anyone can be at home playing Call of Duty and play alongside someone from across the world. Online gameplay is now standard in all popular consoles as PlayStation and Nintendo jumped on board and created their own online networks.

Online Gaming and Video Content

Online gaming has created a lucrative business for me in the video content world. YouTube has created a community of gamers that work together to create video game related skits, gameplays, and more without having to physically meet each other. I have personally followed accounts such as Vanoss Gaming who has formed a group of YouTube gaming stars to create video game comedy sketches. It has allowed his group to get different endorsements from major gaming companies. Online gaming has gone outside its console base and has entered many different social media platforms.

Gone but Not Forgotten

The Dreamcast changed the gaming industry without much credit. The aspirations of Sega were not highly appreciated during that time, as the Internet was still fairly new. The console was functioning with web 2.0 features but in a web 1.0 world. In the more recent years, Dreamcast has actually been making steady sales as reported by Matthews and purely out of nostalgic reasons. Maybe Dreamcast will have its recognition as an trend setting console after all.

Sources:

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/seganet-launches/1100-2625699/

http://fusion.net/fifteen-years-after-its-death-the-sega-dreamcast-is-st-1793850728

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