Sega’s Dreamcast 2 is nothing more than a pipe dream, and it’s better that way
The internet has been abuzz in recent weeks with fans of former console juggernaut SEGA making a return to the hardware business. While not at all grounded in truth, the whirling rush of fan-fueled mania was palpable, with “Dreamcast 2” trending on both Facebook and Twitter, generating a huge amount of hype around Sega’s non-existent upcoming console. As as lifelong fan of SEGA’s hardware, it’s not hard for me to understand everyone’s temptation to jump the gun upon learning of Sega fans Ben Plato and Patrick Lawson’s campaign to urge SEGA to release a revamped console/PC hybrid version of their iconic Dreamcast, but the cold reality is it’s not going to happen.
Simply put, SEGA has everything to lose and precious little to gain by attempting to enter the hardware market. Be it in the form of a revamped Dreamcast console or a wholly new piece of hardware meant to compete with the current stable of consoles on the market. Since pulling the plug on the short-lived Dreamcast in March of 2001, less than two years after releasing the much beloved system, SEGA has had their ups and downs as a third party publisher and developer. However, in recent years they have come into their own by smartly acquiring a pool of impressive studios such as Creative Assembly and Atlus, as well as through their ability to release software on a wide range of platforms. That said, SEGA would need to radically alter their business structure, reneging on their third party commitments if they were to release a new piece of hardware, effectively cutting off the vast majority of their consumers in the process. After all, what incentive would consumers have to adopt their latest hardware if their games are readily available on the Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC? Conversely, it’s hard to imagine how SEGA would benefit from throwing their resources into costly console development while effectively throwing away their entire customer base. That said, as much as I’d love to see SEGA throw their hat in the ring, there’s no logical reason for the company to leave their comfortable position as a third party publisher and developer in favor of first party console and games production. It’d be suicide.
As much as it pains me to say this, another reason why they won’t be rolling out another piece of hardware anytime soon is due to the fact that the SEGA today is a far cry from the SEGA of two decades ago. During the 16 and 32-bit eras, Sega garnered a tremendous amount of fans due to their consistently high quality titles and iconic franchises such as the Sonic the Hedgehog, Panzer Dragoon and Streets of Rage, as well as a metric ton of superb arcade titles that they regularly ported to their home consoles. During the great 16-bit console wars, SEGA’s name was nearly as synonymous with gaming as Nintendo’s, and they were consistently breaking new ground, touching almost every facet of the industry due to their unwavering commitment to innovating in both the arcades and at home with wild new technologies which, while not always successful, showed the company’s drive towards creating new and exciting ways to explore the medium. While many old guard gamers like myself who grew up in the 1980’s may fondly remember those days, they’re a far cry from the reality that is the SEGA we know today. SEGA is certainly a studio that can crank out some fantastic titles — just look at the recent Yakuza 5, a prime example of the studio’s prowess when it comes to cranking out a masterpiece — but these titles are few and far between when compared to the studio’s glory days, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any series in their current stable of games that screams “system seller” in the same way today’s Halo, Uncharted, and Legend of Zelda titles do on their respective platforms.
While I’d love nothing more than to see another shiny box emblazoned with the sleek SEGA logo under my big screen (while we’re at it, let’s add some new SNK and NEC-branded machines to the dream pile), it’s just not going to happen anytime soon, and I’m okay with that. Their current position in the industry allows them a greater degree of security and creativity than they’d experience as a first party, allowing them to bring their stable of classic franchises to millions of gamers across a ton of platforms. With Yakuza 6 and Valkyria Chronicles: Azure Revolution and in the pipeline for the PlayStation 4, and a slew of other releases their publishing primed to land on other consoles, SEGA is providing plenty of gaming goodness to fans by simply doing what they’re doing. Losing another costly hardware battle could be the final nail in SEGA’s coffin, and I’m not in any rush to see that happen. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure they aren’t either.
So dear readers, would you like to see SEGA release a new console to compete with the current-generation contenders? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below and let us know.