Millions of people will sign on to their video game console of choice today to play Destiny, the much anticipated online-multiplayer video game from the creators of the Halo franchise. But the rise of online gaming, the astronomical success specifically of multiplayer shooters, even the construction of Xbox Live, the home of the Halo games, are all indebted to the Sega Dreamcast. The doomed console paved the way for online gaming with a 56K gaming and a handful of atypical accessories, like a broadband adapter and mouse and keyboard.
The former president of Sega of America and current Chief Operating Officer at Electronic Arts, Peter Moore, took a moment to remember his experience launching the Dreamcast 15 years ago today, on September 9, 1999. Ironically, Electronic Arts played a role in the failure of the Dreamcast, refusing to publish its games on the console. Not that the Dreamcast was want for quality sports games, something Moore addresses in his piece.
Moore has allowed us to republish his Facebook post. Be sure to also read Douglas Perry's The Rise and Fall of the Dreamcast and Zoya Street's Dreamcast Worlds, two of the best works on the system.
Once again, I trust my employers here at EA will allow me the indulgence of reminiscence and nostalgia on this day, 09/09/14, the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Dreamcast here in North America on the wonderfully numerically-correct date of 09/09/99. It certainly doesn't feel like fifteen years have gone by since this innovative console ushered in the era of online gaming, albeit through a 56K modem, and thus changed the face of interactive entertainment forever. The memories of course are bittersweet - we all know how this movie ended - but I was fortunate to have worked at that time with some of the most amazingly dedicated individuals, all of whom were galvanized around a single goal: prove the naysayers wrong, launch the console with a bang, get to a meaningful installed base within the first twelve months, and keep the momentum going in the face of the upcoming stiff competition. We still get together as a team from time-to-time, and oh the stories we tell. Lots of coulda/shoulda/woulda, but primarily pride in our accomplishments and the legacy we firmly believe can be seen and felt in gaming to this day.
With the Dreamcast's online capabilities, we coined a phrase "We're taking gamers where gaming is going". In our heart of hearts, we worried that we would not be there for the entire journey, but it was with great pride that with our Sega Sports games in particular, that we ushered in the era of connected interactive entertainment. I don't think it is an overstatement to say that the Dreamcast and it's online network laid the ground for what we all take for granted today - online game play, linking innumerable gamers from around the world to play, compete and collaborate, as well as enabling new content to be delivered in addition to that which was delivered on the disc. Rarely does a week go by where I don't bump into somebody that fondly reminisces about this wonderful piece of hardware and the great times they had (and are still having!) playing some of its superb games. So as we all enjoy everything the next generation of hardware has to offer, give a tip of the hat (or glass) this evening to The Little Console That Could. The Sega Dreamcast...