Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

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outdated_gamer
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Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by outdated_gamer » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:00 pm

When it comes down to the question why Sega isn't a player in the console hardware race anymore the answers all seem similar: the PlayStation and Sony's advertising machine, too many systems and addons that didn't resonate with gamers, Sega's financial woes, pressure from the competition, lacking major 3rd party support, ect. I believe all these are realistic reasons but I also think there is more to the story. I don't accept the idea that Sega was somehow "worse" than the competition and got outgunned, rather, I think a changing market is what hurt them the most. Sega used to be all about fast, spectacular arcade style games and those type of games were losing "weight" in gamer's eyes during the 32-bit/64-bit generation. People simply didn't want to pay a full price for arcade style games anymore, with the exception of fighting games and some racing games. It also didn't help that Saturn was more focused on 2D graphics which were already old fashined at the time, with fast 3D graphics being all the hype. Then, we can add the lack of any major Japanese RPGs, which were also all the rage on the console systems at the time and a major reason why the PlayStation pushed above other console systems (Nintendo's response was making Zelda more "anime style"). You can point to Panzer Dragoon Saga as a good, exclusive RPG for the Saturn but I don't think that had all that much media coverage (atleast that's my perception) and the Saturn was already on the road to retirement at the time, having failed to build a big enough user base and Sega focused all strenght on the upcomming Dreamcast. The Dreamcast seemed like it wouldn't repeat the shortcommings of the Saturn but apparently it was already too late for Sega, as they were losing 3rd party support and gamer's and tech enthusiast's interest shifted to the PS2 and other upcomming "next-gen" systems. Sega's IPs (outside of Sonic) lacked the recognition and mass appeal of some of Sony's and Nintendo's and they didn't have the financial background comparable to Sony's and Microsoft's. Their system also got hacked early on, allowing for easy "bootlegs" that additionally hurt the system. So despite having a competent and attractive system, they apparently could not sustain it because of the before mentioned reasons. This led to the decision to go 3rd party and make games for other systems. But I personally think that a part of Sega was lost when they went 3rd party. It only scattered their games and IPs across different platforms and some may argue that the quality of the games also declined. Sega were not the amazingly unique and progressive company anymore, imo. Fast forward to modernity, it's now an even greyer picture for Sega as a gaming company, with their focus shifting to PC centric games and franchises and mediocre console games. Outside of Platinum Studios, I don't even know if Sega have any really creative teams left. Of course making a new console would be a unrealistic idea in today's time but it does seem like Sega were just better when they were still on their own hardware.

Thoughts?

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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by kiwimike » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:43 pm

Lol, I truly don't know how to respond! :lol:

Other than I was sad when they opted out, and still miss them!

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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by DPrinny » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:14 am

WALL OF TEXT ARGH MY EYES!!

They backed out as the Dreamcast was kinda a flop, the Saturn didnt do to well, 32x was laughable,

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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by Liamh1982 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:43 am

Having people like Tom Kalinske and Bernie Stolar making all the wrong decisions and destroying Sega's reputation in their biggest market didn't exactly help.

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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by pratty » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:03 am

I think you probably answered your own question.

Nintendo faced the same threat from Sony, but I think they showed Sega how to ride out the storm. It seemed to me that Sega just didn't have enough quality exclusives, or at least didn't martet those they did have well enough.

The ace Sega had up their sleave was Sonic, but it's pretty much agreed that they dropped the ball there, where as Nintendo hit a home run with Super Mario 64, bundling it with the N64 sold systems. But not only that Nintendo diversified the Mario franchise, as well as Mario Kart they also released Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Paper Mario, Mario Party. Call it milking but they were all quality games, backed with the familiar Mario branding that people know and trust.

On top of that most other Nintendo franchises went from strength to strength, such as Pokemon, Star Fox, Wave Race and Zelda. And they released new IPs such as Smash Bros, Diddy Kong Racing (with Rare) and 1080 Snowboarding.

Sonic Adventure sold a respectable 2.5 million, but that was low compared to previous Sonic games, even games like Diddy Kong Racing and Pokemon Snap outsold it, neve mind Mario and Zelda.

Then Nintendo also had some great 3rd exclusives on the N64, Goldeneye 007, WWf No Mercy, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, Rougue Squadron etc.

Nintendo enployed similar strategies with the Gamecube to stay in business before fully rebounding with the Wii and DS.

As much as I respect the Dreamcast and games like Shenmue, Skies Of Arcadia, Powerstone, Soul Calibur and RE: Code Veronica, I just don't think Sega gave the consumer enough reasons to own one with all Sony and Nintendo were offering.
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by gman72 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:11 am

Sega were arrogant, telling EA they didn't need them.
Screwing over a 3rd party publisher like EA when launching a new machine is not a great idea. For all the talk of E.A being essential, not so. Sega's own sports games on the Dreamcast were gob smacking, but not having E.A on-board was a factor in the machines demise.
Another factor was Sony's ploy of using on-paper specs. 75 Million polys per sec, etc then reduced to 66 million. In reality around 10,000 polygons per sec in most games with all textures/lighting etc. Basically making gamers believe the machine was more powerful than it was, but not actually lying.
Another factor was the PS2 having a DVD drive, many non-gamers bought a PS2 as a cheap DVD player, but again that's only a factor.
Sega gambled with online gaming but in Europe we got shafted, the proposed deal with BT to make cheaper calls whilst playing online never happened (though you could use number DC dialled as 1 of your friends/family numbers)
As I already mentioned Sega blew the marketing budget on sponsoring a football team, big mistake, so another factor in the machines demise. Sony had far, far better customer relations with stores than Sega, Sony were quick to restock, deal with credit, help with promotions etc. Sega were not, that was a big factor in terms of high street promotions.
Sega though were their own worst enemy. After having Mega CD, 32X, Nomad and Saturn bomb, who was really willing to risk backing Sega again? The sad thing was they'd really nailed the hardware this time around, but as Garry Penn said Dreamcast was only ever going to be the milky way of consoles, a snack between Playstations. Had Sega of not messed up the handling of the Saturn, ditched 32X, used sprite scaling in Mega CD rather than go down the 32X route, things would have been very different.
Sony treated high street chains and indie games shops the same. Sega preferred the high street chains and treated indies poorly, as a result many indies gave up on Sega long before Dreamcast even launched.
At the close of the 90's Sega had 3% of the console market due to messing up with Mega CD/32X and Saturn along with treating publishers and retailers poorly. Sega had just over 12 months to get DC established. It's TRUE that Sony ensured it's PS2 P.R statements coincided with KEY Sega events, to ensure Sega didn't steal all the media attention. This is the Sony Hype Machine that many feel killed the Dreamcast but that's just bad blood and ball busting in the face of big business.
The PS one outsold the DC throughout it's natural life cycle in Japan. Many industry figures think Sega launched far TOO early and instead should have gone head to head with PS2, putting arguably superior Dreamcast versions of Resident Evil CV, MDK2, DOA2, Unreal Tournament etc next to the PS2 versions, sort of a return to the classic stunt they pulled off with Genesis running Sonic next to SNES running Super Mario 4 at a big US show during the Mega drive years with the slogan: Compare for yourselves...
Sega believed early building of a 'BRAND IMAGE' for the Dreamcast was far more important than showcasing the games, so whilst 'cool' adverts in USA like the 9.9.99 and the "It's Thinking" campains had huge public awareness often those questioned had no bloody idea what Dreamcast actually was. The ads were too arty and vague. The advert of a weather map with a Dreamcast swirl fell flat as storm fronts often looked very similar to the DC swirl in real life when they appeared on TV weather maps/sat.images.
In Europe, ASA (Advertising standards agency) ordered Sega remove the 'up to 6 Billion players' slogan as the online wasn't yet up and running! Sega sponsoring Arsenal (who had a poor season!) was badly handled. The yellow shirts had SEGA on them the red had Dreamcast on them, impact lost from the start.
The projected images onto houses of parliament were working until the ITC had them removed for fear of inciting racial hatred.
Jap launch saw a shortage of machines on the shelf due to supply issues with chipsets from NEC, 1st day DC sales in Japan:100,000 1st day PS2 sales in Japan 600,000. The US launch was much better, 100,000 DC's gone in a few hours, it took more money in opening weekend ($97 Million for Sega) than Star Wars Phantom menace.
The UK launch was delayed by a month as the internet side was not ready. Australia got the DC consoles but no games or browser discs, VMU's or extra Joy pads as they'd been been shipped from Europe but customs weren't happy with the crate labels so held them back until the matter was sorted.
A Lot of the big publishers were concerned about Sega's ability to market/promote the DC as in 2000 SEGA posted multi-billion yen losses due to the cost of developing DC, settling with 3DFX, Saturn performing badly and downturn in money made by their arcade arm. Also SEGA were squeezing 3rd party developers over profit margins at a time they were putting the brunt of marketing behind in-house/Sega developed DC titles, not 3rd party games.
These are some of the main reasons for the Dreamcast's demise. Anyone who can use the internet can quickly and easily see that Sega were their own worst enemy and if the Dreamcast is the most unfairly treated console then the rot started with its creators.:D
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by gman72 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:12 am

The above is why the Dreamcast failed, which is basically why Sega had to leave the hardware race. :D
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by sirclive1 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:58 am

So called sega fans - destroying the dreamcast pirating games left , right n centre instead of buying them , now grumble like mad as the wonderful dreamcast's commercial life was short lived.
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by gman72 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:16 am

sirclive1 wrote:So called sega fans - destroying the dreamcast pirating games left , right n centre instead of buying them , now grumble like mad as the wonderful dreamcast's commercial life was short lived.
That's a good point. I'm sure piracy played its part. I'm pretty sure piracy was fairly big on the PS2 also which could have impacted the success of that machine also. :D
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by sirclive1 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:18 am

gman72 wrote:
sirclive1 wrote:So called sega fans - destroying the dreamcast pirating games left , right n centre instead of buying them , now grumble like mad as the wonderful dreamcast's commercial life was short lived.
That's a good point. I'm sure piracy played its part. I'm pretty sure piracy was fairly big on the PS2 also which could have impacted the success of that machine also. :D
Rife on both , but i am sure just a boot disc enabled dc piracy (rather than chipping etc on ps2) , making it simpler and especially for pirates - cheaper !
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by gman72 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:26 am

agreed
It probably was easier on the Dreamcast. I can shamefully admit to owning one of those disc slider thingys for PS2 but it was so I could play imported games rather that pirate discs.
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by The Hardest of All Freds » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:40 am

Would a DVD drive made any difference? Seeing as the most bought disc with the PS2 on launch in Japan was The Matrix on DVD.
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by 32Bitter » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:45 am

sirclive1 wrote:
gman72 wrote:
sirclive1 wrote:So called sega fans - destroying the dreamcast pirating games left , right n centre instead of buying them , now grumble like mad as the wonderful dreamcast's commercial life was short lived.
That's a good point. I'm sure piracy played its part. I'm pretty sure piracy was fairly big on the PS2 also which could have impacted the success of that machine also. :D
Rife on both , but i am sure just a boot disc enabled dc piracy (rather than chipping etc on ps2) , making it simpler and especially for pirates - cheaper !
I am pretty sure you did not even need to chip either a PS1 or PS2 (slim) to play pirate games. Just need to perform the disc swap trick

The DS also only required a small investment to play pirate games.
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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by RodimusPrime » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:06 am

gman72 wrote:
sirclive1 wrote:So called sega fans - destroying the dreamcast pirating games left , right n centre instead of buying them , now grumble like mad as the wonderful dreamcast's commercial life was short lived.
That's a good point. I'm sure piracy played its part. I'm pretty sure piracy was fairly big on the PS2 also which could have impacted the success of that machine also. :D
Rife on both , but i am sure just a boot disc enabled dc piracy (rather than chipping etc on ps2) , making it simpler and especially for pirates - cheaper ![/quote]

I am pretty sure you did not even need to chip either a PS1 or PS2 (slim) to play pirate games. Just need to perform the disc swap trick

The DS also only required a small investment to play pirate games.[/quote]

It got even easier with the dreamcast, early pirated games needed the boot disc, but soon after the pirate games had a self-boot file on disc which meant you could just play them on any unmodified dreamcast. meaning you did not need to do anything at all to play pirate games.

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Re: Why did Sega have to leave the hardware race?

Post by paranoid marvin » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:06 am

Two's company, three is a crowd. Two rival machines can share the market, and indeed it can be quite healthy to have choice; but three doesn't work. Basically Nintendo kept their fans,

So Sega fans had the choice of PS2 or Dreamcast. Sony had won the PR war, with the console making it's way into many peoples living rooms who would never have dreamed of having a games machine in their living room. The machine played DVDs, and was backwards-compatible with a vast array of PS1 titles also available - the Dramcast wasn't. The fact is as well that Sega fans had been screwed so many times in the past by the comapny, with the Mega CD, 32X and sub-standard (in comparison to the PS1) Saturn. Sega were releasing lots of machines/add-ons, then not giving them the same support as Sony and Nintendo did with their machines, tehn quickly moving onto the next thing.

I think there was a major concern from Sega fans that they would again end up with the also-ran console when it came to the Dreamcast vs PS2 , just like they did with Saturn vs PS1.

Another major factor in my opinion was EA; PS2 had the latest FIFA release and Sega didn't. This was in FIFA's heyday, when pretty much everyone eagerly awaited the next update. To not be able to play it on the latest machine was a massive drawback.

It was either going to be Nintendo or Sega that lost out, and while Nintendo kept their fans with amazing updates of Zelda, Mario etc. along with AAA third party titles like Goldeneye and FIFA - Sonic Adventure and Sega Bass Fishing simply couldn't compete with that. People didn't just want arcade-perfect ports anymore - partly because they didn't go into arcades any more, but also because gaming had moved on.

Which is a real shame because the Dremcast was a quality machine , and Sega made some ace games.
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