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Sega Dreamcast

The glorious Dreamcast, killed by the evil Playstation!

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 ditched them in favor of their long-time rival NEC.  3Dfx filed a lawsuit and things got nasty for a bit.

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.  When the latter design was chosen, both the team members at Sega of America as well as 3Dfx were furious.  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.  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 25, 1998, the Dreamcast was finally released to the Japanese public and sales were incredible.  The European release came on October 14, 1999 and was also a success.

Sony ruined the show for Sega with the release of its 128-bit PS2, which had added features such as being able to play DVDs and PS1 games.  News of Nintendo's upcoming console and Microsoft's XBOX just made matters worse for Sega.

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.  Today, Sega have a number of titles on consoles and gaming devices ranging from the Nintendo Game Cube to the Nokia N-Gage.

The Dreamcast retailed for $199.99.  About 250 games were released in the US, 150 in Japan and 26 were exclusively released in Europe.

Marc wrote in to tell us that "in Europe, the Dreamcast only came with a 33.6kbps modem. A broadband adapter was also released for the Dreamcast in Japan and North America, but never saw the light of day in Europe (possibly because of the lack of support in online EU DC games/EU broadband availability - The US had Seganet at the time.) Speaking of Seganet - Seganet was the Dreamcasts online unified service in North America - There was a small subscription charge for it (I was told around $7 a month by one of my American buddies)." Thanks!

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)

*Chad Welsh wrote in to tell us that "the operating system should be stated as a custom Sega operating system and a Windows CE operating system that are included on the GD-Roms depending on which game is played ie. Sega Rally 2 Rally Championship will have Windows CE for its OS along with a handfull of others. Most like Sonic Adventure will be made with Sega's own Katana development enviroment." Thanks.

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