Sega Dreamcast
Type Console Developer Sega
Release Date 1998-Nov-27 Region(s) Japan, North America, Europe, Australasia, Brazil
Initial Price $199 USD Games Released Approximately 690
     by Dark Watcher
Around March 12th, 1997 rumors began to surface about what originally began as a 64-bit upgrade for the Sega Saturn.  Eventually news began to leak about Sega's development of a totally new console.  By June 1997 it was known that Sega had two different design specs for consideration to become the new console, one code-named 'Black Belt' and the other code-named 'Dural'.
'Black Belt' was being designed by Sega of America.  The console would sport an IBM/Motorola PowerPC 603e CPU with 3Dfx Voodoo graphics chipset.  As a result of the programming difficulties of the Sega Saturn, Sega of America also approached big time PC developer Microsoft to develop an easy to program operating system for the console (probably where Microsoft took an interest in the console market).  Sega of Japan however began developing 'Dural' which would sport a Hitachi SH-4 CPU with PowerVR2 graphics chipset designed by old console rival NEC/Video Logic (maker of the TurboGrafx 16, Turbo Duo and PC-FX).  Both designs were brought to the big shots at Sega and compared side by side.  It was determined that the 'Dural' design would be used, but would incorporate elements of the 'Black Belt' design.  As a result most of the members of the American design team quit the company.  3Dfx then files a breach of contract lawsuit against Sega.

Sega worked with Microsoft, Hitachi, NEC\Video Logic and Yamaha to produce this machine.  It was announced to the public as the Sega Katana on September 7th 1997 and would be the first 128-bit console to enter the videogame market.  Sega fueled the console's hype by spending $100 million to launch it.  Due to the demand for units, the system now called Dreamcast was rescheduled a number of times and was finally released in Japan on November 27, 1998.
By July 16, 1999, the Dreamcast was outselling the Nintendo 64 by a 3 to 1 ratio.  Meanwhile in America, advertising for the Dreamcast (their infamous 9.9.99 campaign as displayed to the right) was taking place and was released on September 9, 1999.  Europe also saw a successful release on October 14, 1999.
The Dreamcast was an impressive system boasting powerful specs, a simple to program Windows CE operating system and a built in modem for use in internet browsing and online game play.  The year long wait from the Japanese release gave 3rd party developers ample time to bring a collection of software titles for the release.  After some delays, SegaNet was finally introduced.  SegaNet allowed Dreamcast users the ability to play games over the Internet.  In January 2000, 30% of Japanese Dreamcast owners were online and by February 17 this had risen to almost 50%.  In the US over 300,000 people were using DC's Internet and in Europe over 200,000 were reported.  It would seem that Sega had finally corrected the mistakes that plagued them in the past.

Even with the success of Dreamcast all was not well in the world of Sega.  Sega faced numerous lawsuits from companies such as 3Dfx and were attempting to recover from a failed merger with Japanese company Bandai that occurred in January, 1997.  The eventual release of Sony's 128-bit over hyped successor complicated matters with its backwards compatibility and ability to play DVDs (more bang for the buck).
The President of Sega Sholchiro Irimajiri steps down and is replaced by Isao Ohkawa.  One of Ohkawa's first steps is to issue an ultimatum and 500 million dollars to Sega of America to make the Dreamcast healthy in the U.S. market again.  Sega also faced difficulties in a price war with Sony.  Sega initially could not afford to lower the price of the console or they would never meet the break-even point due losses from previous console failures.  With the announcements by Nintendo and Microsoft of new consoles, Sega knew they couldn't hold out.
On January 31, 2001, Sega of America announces a major restructuring.  The price the Sega Dreamcast dropped to $99.95 on February 4 and production of new systems ceased on March 31.  Sega left behind the hardware business and became a software developer.  Sega of Japan followed suit two days later.
The Sega Dreamcast was an amazing console and possibly one of Sega's greatest successes.  It opened the gateway to console online gaming and its heart lives on in Sega's NAOMI arcade board.  Its a shame that the Dreamcast's success could not save Sega as a hardware company, but its amazing game library lives on in console / PC ports.
FACT:  Sega's choice to use a simplistic operating system to run its console was not only a benefit to 3rd party software developers, but also to private programmers around the world.  Even after Sega announced they would no longer support the console, the Dreamcast lives on special thanks to these amazing private software authors.

     Officially licensed releases
The Sega Dreamcast had a number of Limited \ Special Editions released, but only had three basic models due to its limited production run.  The initial release featured a 33.6 kbps modem, while systems released after September 1999 featured an upgraded 57.6 kbps unit.  The disc drives were also altered sometime in early 2000 to provide upgraded anti-piracy protection for the system.  Most of the variations involve changes in the color of the chassis and packaging.  See the examples below from the massive Dreamcast collection of Bel at Beta-Zero.
The original model had a light grey chassis, while later releases featured a myriad of different color combinations (chassis, logo, lighting indicators, etc.).  The most rare version is the Dreamcast Gold Pro Yakyuu Contest model (pictured directly to the right).  Though there are rumored to be five in existence, multiple sources claim that only one was actually [produced.

Dreamcast Biohazard Claire
Dreamcast Biohazard S.T.A.R.S.
Dreamcast Chu Chu Rocket
Dreamcast Claire Airbrush
Dreamcast CSK Model
Dreamcast D-Direct Black
Dreamcast D-Direct Metallic Silver
Dreamcast D-Direct Pearl Blue
Dreamcast D-Direct Pearl Pink
Dreamcast Divers 2000 CX-1
Dreamcast Gundam RX-78 Custom
Dreamcast Hello Kitty Blue Edition
Dreamcast Hello Kitty Pink Edition
Dreamcast K. Sugiura Partner
Dreamcast Maziora
Dreamcast Milka Promo
Dreamcast MSR
Dreamcast Regulation 7 - R7
Dreamcast Sakura Wars
Dreamcast Seaman Clear
Dreamcast Seaman Xmas Edition
Dreamcast Sega Sports
Dreamcast Sonic 10th Anniversary
Dreamcast Toyota Edition
Dreamcast Trial Edition
Dreamcast Tsutaya Rental Unit
Dreamcast Virtua Tennis

Sega Dreamcast Box Contents (North American release)
Sega Dreamcast Sega Dreamcast Sega Dreamcast
Sega Dreamcast Sega Dreamcast
     Non-licensed hardware releases
By far, the most famous Dreamcast clones is definitely the Treamcast.  This system featured a built-in LCD screen and actually had a few different releases due to its popularity.  If you intend on acquiring one of these units, be prepared to shell out a few bucks.  In addition to having been released in multiple colors, accessories are also available for those that are diehard Dreamcast fans.  This clone is manufactured in China, yet it runs on standard 110/120 US power.  Another plus for this clone is that it is region-free.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Sega Dreamcast was distributed on the GD-ROM format, which were packaged in the standard jewel case.  Initially the cover art for US titles featured a white, concave side banner, which was subsequently changed to black with an added Dreamcast logo.

The Dreamcast was also the first mainstream console to include networking capabilities built directly into the hardware.  Most games which took advantage of this multiplayer network gaming featured an Online Enabled button image on the front cover.  Details on the specific requirements, supported accessories and online features were located on the back of the casing.  An example of Online Enabled game (Unreal Tournament) is pictured to the right.

Online access was initially provided through the SegaNet ISP, which was a shirt lived venture.  After less than one year of service, SegaNet was shut down and third party suppliers entered the scene.

applemctom's Games that Defined Compiliation

Sega Dreamcast Game Boxes

Sega Dreamcast game collection

     Captured in-game images
18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker
18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker screenshot
Cannon Spike
Cannon Spike screenshot
Capcom vs. SNK
Capcom vs. SNK screenshot
Carrier screenshot
Crazy Taxi
Crazy Taxi screenshot
Daytona USA 2001
Daytona USA 2001 screenshot
Dead or Alive 2
Dead or Alive 2 screenshot
Deadly Skies
Deadly Skies screenshot
Giga Wing 2
Giga Wing 2 screenshot
Grandia 2
Grandia 2 screenshot
Gunbird 2
Gunbird 2 screenshot
Hundred Swords
Hundred Swords screenshot
Jet Grind Radio
Jet Grind Radio screenshot
Mars Matrix
Mars Matrix screenshot
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 screenshot
NBA 2K2 screenshot
NFL 2K1 screenshot
Phantasy Star Online
Phantasy Star Online screenshot
Rayman 2
Rayman 2 screenshot
Rez screenshot
Sega Bass Fishing 2
Sega Bass Fishing 2 screenshot
Skies of Arcadia
Skies of Arcadia screenshot
Sonic Adventure
Sonic Adventure screenshot
SoulCalibur screenshot
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles screenshot
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike screenshot
Virtua Cop 2
Virtua Cop 2 screenshot
Striker 2
Striker 2 screenshot
Virtua Tennis
Virtua Tennis screenshot
World Series Baseball 2K1
World Series Baseball 2K1 screenshot
     First and third party system emulators

This is an amazing Sega Dreamcast emulator for Windows.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
128-bit Hitachi SH4 CPU 200 MHz \ 360 MIPS \ 1.4 GFLOPS PowerVR2 CLX2 GPU 16 MB \ 8 MB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
Up to 640 x 480 16.78 million colors 3 M polygons\sec 64-Channel Yamaha AICA Sound
Processor (32-Bit ARM7 RISC CPU)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Proprietary GD-ROM (12x Yamaha) 1.2 GB Approx. 690  
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
None Visual Memory Unit (128 KB)
4X Memory Card (512 KB)
Mutli-function Gamepad with
shoulder trigger buttons
Keyboard, Rumble Pack, Mouse, MIDI cable, Microphone, Digital Camera
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
Four (4) 57.6 kbps Internal Modem
(33.6 kbps PAL)
None RF \ Composite \ S-Video
(VGA via optional accessory)
Power Supply - Internal Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
AC 100-120V, 50/60Hz, 27W None Customized Windows CE operating system with DirectX support
Sega Dreamcast Owners Manual (PDF) - 31.4 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Sega Dreamcast Television Commercials - Promotional Campaign

Sega Dreamcast Television Commercials - Post Launch

Sega Dreamcast Magazine Promotions

     Visitor insights and feedback
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