Once upon a time, Sega was a force to be reckoned with within the gaming industry. Few companies could match its size and popularity. The company created its first console for gamers to enjoy titles at home it 1983, though it became a household name a few years later thanks to its Master System. It then followed it up with other hit machines, namely the Genesis/Mega Drive and Saturn.
Its final console was the Dreamcast, a square console that ran games from GD-ROM discs, could connect to the internet, and had special “VMU” devices that acted as memory cards and second screens. In many ways, the Dreamcast was ahead of its time but, sadly, Sega spent too long focusing on these features and not enough on the games themselves.
After the Dreamcast became a commercial failure, SEGA decided to withdraw from the console market and focus solely on producing games, a decision it continues to stick with, despite regular rumours to the contrary.
The gaming market today looks very different to how it did back in 2001 when SEGA pulled the plug. Firstly, the types of games we play are quite different. Many of us now enjoy smaller casual titles, often playing them on smartphones and tablets. Online casinos, which were just getting off the ground when the Dreamcast was discontinued, are now another popular option. Many now also offer no deposit bonuses for players to take advantage of, something that was unheard of 21 years ago.
The console market also looks very different. There are no longer any portable-only devices, instead, users choose between mobile devices or hybrid consoles like the Nintendo Switch. Additionally, Microsoft has joined Nintendo and Sony at the top of the console market. But few people realise that the Xbox is actually a descendant of the failed Dreamcast.
Windows on Dreamcast
Microsoft had actually been working with SEGA before the Dreamcast was discontinued. The console has a Windows-based operating system, though it couldn’t be used for running Internet Explorer or Word, it did provide support for DirectX, Microsoft’s gaming technology.
While this was only the beginning, the relationship between SEGA and Microsoft would only get closer as we got deeper into the 21st century.
Passing the Baton
Building on their relationship, many of the team that worked on the Dreamcast eventually provided input into the original Xbox. In fact, Peter Moore, the executive at SEGA of America that made the decision to halt production of the console in 2001 joined Microsoft in 2003.
For a while, SEGA had tried to get Microsoft to make the Xbox support Dreamcast games, creating a direct successor to the console, though this idea was eventually shelved.
As the Japanese giant transitioned to a software-only company, it began making a lot of Xbox-exclusive titles. While many of its games are now released on other platforms too, SEGA still has a close alliance with Microsoft and is reportedly working on a new line of “Super Games”.
You can also see plenty of evidence of the Dreamcast’s influence on the Xbox. The controllers were remarkably similar. The A B X Y buttons used the same colours (though they were shifted around) and had similar placements for the left analogue stick, triggers, and D-pad. And because the newer Xbox machines have retained much of this design, the Dreamcast’s legacy lives on to this day.