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2001: Sega Pulls Out
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 19, 2002   |   Episode 24 (Show Archive)  

   
The Scoop: Oh sure, there had been rumors, but when Sega announced they were pulling out of the console market, just about everybody gasped in disbelief. For 15 years Sega had attempted to unseat Nintendo, and now they are joining forces. It's almost as if it was a sign of the apocalypse or something.

Sega was committed to at least a few months worth of Dreamcast software, but the writing was on the walls, the Sega's next generation system was dead, and the company was going to be a third party. But how could this be? Didn't the Dreamcast have the best launch of any system just a year or so before?

Well, problem wasn't the U.S. The problem ended up being Japan and Europe, where Sega was having a difficult time. Though sales were starting to pick up, Sega worried that bigger guns like Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube would end up hurting their sales, and potentially leave them out in the cold.

While the Sega Dreamcast had died, Sega was busy working on a number of exciting games for all three of the big systems. Let's just put it this way, the first year of the millennium was a bittersweet time for Sega fans.

The Other Side: I'll admit, as a Sega fan since the 1980's, it was difficult to watch Sega drop out of the system wars. As a business decision, Sega probably did the right thing. However, there is a part of me that will always be sad that there will never be a weird named system to house a Virtua Fighter sequel.

The Dreamcast was a great system, with a great deal of quality games, and even more potential. With a control with a LCD screen, four player support, and even a built in modem, the Dreamcast was ready for every kind of gaming you could think of. It was also cheap, especially for what you got in the package. It was an all around great deal, and its death was unjust.

The Impact: Sega's decision effected all three major systems, and a number of other third parties. For the first time ever, Sega would be allowed to make games for not just one former competitor, but ALL of the competitors. It would get them a chance to get their games out there for a mass market, and not just the cult following the Saturn and Dreamcast ended up with.

Early on the Xbox looked like Sega's system of choice, however, since the first announcements, Sega has done a good job of giving unique games everybody, no matter what system they own. The Xbox may have received many of the initial games, but it was the PlayStation 2 that picked up Virtua Fighter 4, the single best selling Sega game since the shake up.

The GameCube is not left out in the cold, either. For over a year now, the GameCube is the home of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sega also gave Nintendo a reason to release a network adaptor, in the way of Phantasy Star Episodes I & II. And hey, who can forget the Super Monkey Ball series?

Where Are They Now?: Sega's last year has been something of a mixed bag. While there have been a number of high quality Sega games on all three systems, including Virtua Fighter 4 (PlayStation 2), Jet Set Radio Future (Xbox), and Super Monkey Ball 2 (GameCube), they have been few and far between. A lot of the other games were fun, but ultimately shallow. And some didn't even make it out this year (read: Panzer Dragoon Orta).

Most of Sega's games have been remakes and updates, sometimes of things you never would have thought of. Shinobi returned, as did ToeJam & Earl, and even House of the Dead. And this is only going to continue into the new year, when Sega releases updated versions of Phantasy Star, Streets of Rage, Fantasy Zone, and even Alex Kidd.

What wasn't a remake, ended up being a sports title. For the first time ever Sega went head to head with Electronic Arts, and to a lesser extent, 989 Studios. While 2002 may not have been their year, Sega is sticking with it, and there is no doubt we'll see greatness in the near future.
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