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Thread: DVD Dreamcast / Sega Master System wasn't that big of a seller.

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    Man in Black Master of Shinobi IrishNinja's Avatar
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    Dc DVD Dreamcast / Sega Master System wasn't that big of a seller.

    right then, i've heard this one for ages & figured this was a great place to really get into it. i don't have the specifics on hand & would welcome anyone citing stuff for or agaisnt this argument, as it's been ages, but the popular meme goes like this:

    "Playstation 2 sold gangbusters, and the jump to DVD was so big, entire shops came about in akiba/etc. therefore, if Dreamcast would've had DVD, it would've been okay (or at least lived longer)."

    for this discussion, let's table a few very large things

    • sega was hemorrhaging money already and had killed most of their other revenue streams in the gen prior (i forget what year their biggest benefactor died as well)
    • sony's momentum going into that gen was historically tremendous ("toy story graphics!", "it's a WMD on planes" etc type shit)



    so, '97 was infamous for their R&D woes with 3DFX & such, you already had deep divides between SOJ & SOA that we've talked about on here for ages. this argument presupposes that:

    • DVD was necessary compared to CD sizes (where sega ended up pursuing their own proprietary format, but it was still silly to imagine a lotta devs were chiming for this amount of space at the time)
    • DVD was a cheap format to develop for - again taking into account damaged 3rd party relations, and now factor in licensing costs for a format they're not in on
    • a DVD player in your system would be in any way cost efficient: bear in mind both the timing of Sony dropping an affordable DVD player with their system, and their ability to eat off the format as well/lose less on hardware they (i want to say at this point) owned factories producing.


    all that to say: sega should somehow be expected to jack up the price of their hardware (losing more on it, nevermind the cost of DVD diodes then), share some % of software royalties because of the format, and do so going head-to-head with a megacorporation that has none of these weakness going in - on the gamble that consumers would jump in, rather than waiting on PS2 (as so many did) for what was likely a better deal.

    and all this before we look at what Moore said the formula was: since they were taking a hit on the hardware ($199 to keep things competitive), they needed software to hit a level of profitability that, if i recall correctly, was somewhere in the 18 month (US release) period - that was, before piracy & other factors came into play. i can't stress how much all of this strategy falls apart by making the system $299, assuming a DVD player at that point wouldn't have been an even bigger hit.
    the entire tactic was to be first and cheaper than the looming behemoth, and the very risk some folks seem to think they should've taken would've literally ruined all of that. they'dve been the underdog, asking for about the same amount of money, for something likely worse off & cutting edge that the market wasn't quite ready for at that exact moment - and you gotta figure they learned that lesson from sega-CD & so many other attempts.

    i feel like there'd already been a shift the gen prior when sony came in & gave devs C++ (?) toolkits & the like, but here we really start seeing where old school sega/nintendo were learning they couldn't compete on the same terms as companies like sony & MS that could survive hemorrhaging billions in the short term for a long term profit down the road (MS would do that the same gen, sony the following).

    ...what do you guys think? am i wrong here?


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    Framemeister Expert Hedgehog-in-TrainingOutrunner Tower of Power's Avatar
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    I think you're right, a DVD drive wouldn't have saved Sega. It might have helped for some consumers, but as far as everything else goes, it would have just been a drop in the bucket. Sega was already doing the traditional things right, they had better games than Sony, a game changer like infinitely better online connectivity, cheap easy to develop for hardware, etc and still got crushed. The hype machine for Sony was too strong, I remember people at the time were totally blinded, they weren't judging the systems on their own merits, they were judging them on the success/failure of previous consoles.

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    Angry Liberal Arts Major Hero of Algol Iron Lizard's Avatar
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    The Dreamcast could have done kids homework,transformed into a break dancing robot, granted wishes or printed money and it wouldn't have mattered. Everyone was hot on the DC until the specter and eventual release of PS2. At that point everyone just dropped their Dreamcasts on the floor wondering over like Zombies to line up and buy PS2s

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    Man in Black Master of Shinobi IrishNinja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tower of Power View Post
    I think you're right, a DVD drive wouldn't have saved Sega. It might have helped for some consumers, but as far as everything else goes, it would have just been a drop in the bucket.
    exactly - i think many share the sentiment that the DC had AM2, Smilebit & others firing on all cylinders, but sadly the mistakes of the past & sony's monumental hype were just too much.

    still, i can't stress enough: raising the system's price for an early DVD player would've likely meant an even smaller install base, with an even longer timeline until profitability. i literally can't see a situation where that would've benefit them.


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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tower of Power View Post
    I think you're right, a DVD drive wouldn't have saved Sega. It might have helped for some consumers, but as far as everything else goes, it would have just been a drop in the bucket. Sega was already doing the traditional things right, they had better games than Sony, a game changer like infinitely better online connectivity, cheap easy to develop for hardware, etc and still got crushed. The hype machine for Sony was too strong, I remember people at the time were totally blinded, they weren't judging the systems on their own merits, they were judging them on the success/failure of previous consoles.
    It's hard to put fault on the owners of the record setting PlayStation for waiting on the PS2. Just look at the N64, it sold 18 million units in North America, because there were a lot of people still buying and playing games on their SNES when the console came out. The Saturn should have came out in 1994 for North America and any thought of add-on to keep the Genesis going there should have been kicked to the curb. Then the Dreamcast should have arrived in 1998 to keep the momentum going.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    DVD wouldn't have helped in any way. Sega would not have been able to afford a Movie Player license, not even Microsoft was willing to eat that cost with the Xbox.
    If Sega had gone with DVD, the DC would have cost another min $50, more likely $100, and would still need a separate purchase for DVD movie playback. Or people could just wait for the PS2 and get movie playback and (overhyped) game console at the same time.

    What the Dreamcast needed was for the previous failures to not have happened. There was nothing it could have done.

    Maybe having a decent controller instead of that piece of crap would have given it another year
    This thread needs more... ENGINEERS

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    Man in Black Master of Shinobi IrishNinja's Avatar
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    it's funny; i missed the saturn in the day, but i thought the DC controller was alright at the time, just weird cord placement (cause of the VMU). i had a genny six-button but i didn't use it much. looking back...yeah, it was a huge step back, ergonomic wise

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    It's hard to put fault on the owners of the record setting PlayStation for waiting on the PS2. Just look at the N64, it sold 18 million units in North America, because there were a lot of people still buying and playing games on their SNES when the console came out. The Saturn should have came out in 1994 for North America and any thought of add-on to keep the Genesis going there should have been kicked to the curb. Then the Dreamcast should have arrived in 1998 to keep the momentum going.
    i still can't wrap my brain around them killing the genesis, game gear (which i believe was still profitable) etc when they did. still, would releasing it 6 or so months earlier have done much? i guess you'dve caught that holiday season, but $400 wouldn't have been any easier then either
    but you're right, the crux of it was splitting markets, confusing consumers and pushing away devs in the process.


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    Raging in the Streets bultje112's Avatar
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    the dreamcast could've been saved if sega had billions of extra dollars so they could extend it's support. keep in mind still hundreds of games were in development for it in 2001. it had far better 3rd party support than gamecube for instance.

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    Framemeister Expert Hedgehog-in-TrainingOutrunner Tower of Power's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    It's hard to put fault on the owners of the record setting PlayStation for waiting on the PS2. Just look at the N64, it sold 18 million units in North America, because there were a lot of people still buying and playing games on their SNES when the console came out. The Saturn should have came out in 1994 for North America and any thought of add-on to keep the Genesis going there should have been kicked to the curb. Then the Dreamcast should have arrived in 1998 to keep the momentum going.
    People are simple creatures, it was a popularity contest. The Playstation name was more popular than the Sega brand at that time, so that was it, and Sega didn't have the cash to overcome that.

    I was a Playstation owner (didn't own a Saturn until after it was dead), but I did my research, I saw what were at the time the amazing games coming out. I do blame people for being absolutely blinded by the name, and not giving the Dreamcast the benefit of the doubt. I do blame people for buying into the hype of an empty name, instead of seeing the amazing, ground breaking console right in front of them. Online play on consoles is huge now, and Sega was pushing it as an important service way before anyone else.

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    Outrunner Greg2600's Avatar
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    A lot of people bought a DC early on, it was a lot more successful than the Saturn in that regard, and had real Sonic games! I personally chose the Xbox over the Gamecube because it played DVD's. DVD playback was def. one of the PS2's selling points, although the failure rate on those early phat ones sure made a bigger stink. I am not an early adopter, so I wait. By the time I myself even began to consider a new system (after N64), the DC was already being shut down.

    DVD or not, Sega bungled by making the games too easy to pirate. Granted this was more prevalent once the system was a few years in, but nonetheless a problem. The marketing budget, as well as development budget, obviously weren't going to get it done.

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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    Eh, I had a $140 Sony DVD player that I got before getting a PS2.


    Quote Originally Posted by IrishNinja View Post

    i still can't wrap my brain around them killing the genesis, game gear (which i believe was still profitable) etc when they did. still, would releasing it 6 or so months earlier have done much? i guess you'dve caught that holiday season, but $400 wouldn't have been any easier then either
    but you're right, the crux of it was splitting markets, confusing consumers and pushing away devs in the process.
    Holiday 94 is a lot better than a month before everyone is going on Summer holidays and taking family vacations out of town.

    They could of had a better version of Star Wars Arcade and Virtua Racing available, as well as 3rd party support. They weren't selling software for the Saturn during the summer of 1995, because 3rd parties weren't ready for it. And they could have avoided certain retail chains boycotting, or treating the Saturn like it wasn't on their shelves, like what happened because of the surprise launch.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Raging in the Streets EclecticGroove's Avatar
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    I agree DVD wouldn't have saved it. The way Sega was back then, they would have had to do some sort of cost saving measure like MS did (use DVD, but not play DVD's without buying something else). What they needed was the money to go head to head with Sony enough to survive in one way or another, and DVD would not have done anything for that on its own.

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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    No, an inbuilt DVD player would not have saved the Dreamcast. The die had already been cast and the incredible success of the PS1 meant that anticipation and hype for the PS2 was unreal. There was nothing Sega could do at that point but they tried, bless 'em. My first job after leaving school in 2000 was working at a HMV store (chain of shops here in the UK that sells movies, CDs, vinyl, games...) and I was doing everything I could to help push the Sega display in the shop, including spending a lot of my own money on games and peripherals for my beloved Dreamcast. However the hype for the PS2 was unreal and when it launched people went nuts for it. I do remember feeling that the writing was on the wall for Sega when I noticed that the Dreamcasts that we were getting delivered to us from Sega had started coming with a DVD player thrown in alongside it. To combat the PS2 here in the UK Sega actually started giving DVD players away free if you bought a Dreamcast! That struck me as a desperation move, brave but desperate, and lo and behold in early 2001 Sega made it's sad announcement that it was pulling out of the hardware business. I remember I was on my break at work when I read that statement from Sega and actually felt like crying.
    Last edited by Mega Drive Bowlsey; 02-15-2018 at 02:32 PM.

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    Man in Black Master of Shinobi IrishNinja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mega Drive Bowlsey View Post
    To combat the PS2 here in the UK Sega actually started giving DVD players away free if you bought a Dreamcast! That struck me as a desperation move, brave but desperate, and lo and behold in early 2001 Sega made it's sad announcement that it was pulling out of the hardware business. I remember I was on my break at work when I read that statement from Sega and actually felt like crying.
    we all did, man
    and damn, had no idea they were bundling that way - that is crazy. must've been absolutely heartbreaking seeing that up close, too.


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    Master of Shinobi Mega Drive Bowlsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishNinja View Post
    we all did, man
    and damn, had no idea they were bundling that way - that is crazy. must've been absolutely heartbreaking seeing that up close, too.
    Yeah it was. It just felt like Sega were all out of ideas at that point and they knew it. They just did not have the financial muscle to go toe to toe with Sony. It was truly the end of an era.

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