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Sega’s Console Return
Not Only Plausible… It Could Be Imminent
©2011 Nicholas Laborde
SEGA hardware comeback?
September 9th, 1999. 9/9/99. Most commonly known as the launch date of the Dreamcast in North America, it marked yet another point where history was happening in front of peoples’ faces, and they failed to see it.
Now, think about this in context: it’s September of 1999. You buy a new console, and it has the ability to connect to the internet to play games! Playing on the internet, on a CONSOLE?! Preposterous!
Not only that, but the actual technology was ahead of its time, and games were beautiful!
It sounds like a formula for success… but it ultimately wasn’t. The Dreamcast was a failure and caused Sega as a console competitor to step down, forever changing the industry.
Ever since that date, Sega faded away into a shadow of its former self. Quality titles were never released by them again, and Sonic was milked to kingdom come.
At this point in time they just periodically re-release their old games. But with the recent break in Sony‘s fortress (the PS3 root key being leaked, which allows unlicensed/pirated software to be run), drastic measures could forever change the industry by causing Sony‘s gaming division to be ruined by piracy and possibly even withdraw from current console competition.
Sega has a break in the storm, and the time could never be better for them to come back.
All glory comes from daring to begin
Sega is still a multi-million dollar company. They have the funds to get into the console war again, but they have every reason to be reluctant.
This generation has been established for five solid years. Entering now would need them to not only do something the big three don’t already do now (which would be VERY difficult), they would also have to be technologically on-par, which is quite expensive in and of itself, considering that Sony only broke even in early 2010.
With these barriers to entry, what would spur me to think that Sega would rise again? Take a gander at these patents filed in early 2009:
• Click image to enlarge
Now, why would a derelict company file patents for a new type of controller, and with their logo on it at that?
It appears to be what the old GBA motion sensor tried to do: adding a gyroscope to the controller. That would be an interesting hybrid between current “hardcore” controllers and motion-gaming.
What then, shall we say to these things?
Conspiracy theory time, ladies and gents! It’s fall 2011. Sony announced they are dropping out of the console race, due to the fact that it’s not feasible to re-release new hardware to fix the root key leak. The PS3 will be dropping support by mid-2012. Then, on 11/11/11, Sega returns with the successor to the Dreamcast, mimicking its predecessor’s release of 9/9/99.
Not only would Sega need a Halo for the Dreamcast 2, they would need a dozen to warrant the purchase. If I had to guess, these would be some launch titles:
Could Sonic become exclusive again? Do we care?
Sonic Adventure 3
Jet Set Radio Infinity
Return to Skies of Arcadia
Sakura Wars 6
Power Stone 2
It would also yet again feature things that we aren’t ready for, such as downloadable games; personally, if titles released on the same day and price both in an online marketplace and a real-life retailer, I don’t see the problem.
Those with faster connections could download their games, those with slower (or none) would stick to buying physical copies.
The online would be fully fleshed out in a way that only a unique innovative company like Sega could do: imagine if Steam, Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network all had a conglomerate. That’s what Sega could do; if they effectively pulled it off, Microsoft and Nintendo would be swept off their feet, leading to the old days of Sega dominance.
They could also fight piracy by using serial keys with purchases of new titles (not like the terrible anti-piracy method the Dreamcast employed), and could possibly be using Blu-Ray format.
We all know the console market is extremely crowded in this day and age. Another competitor entering would normally be stupid, because as I stated earlier, if they don’t do something new or better than what is already established, it will fade away and become forgotten. Look at the NGAGE…
However, I think Sega has a shot. They’re clearly not making anything too new, but they truly have nothing left to lose. Those patents show evidence they’re experimenting, and you wouldn’t patent a new controller design if you weren’t going to use it.
They could pick up in the wake of Sony’s hysteria and possibly introduce the next “hardcore” console. It could mimic how the Xbox came out of nowhere and then rose to the influence it has now.
Many have lost faith in Nintendo, who are simply rehashing and not making anything worthwhile.
Many have lost faith in Microsoft, because Kinect is too casual for them and due to the reduction in amount of exclusives.
Sony have made their platform so damn easy to pirate for, now making it the console of choice for pirates. Sony are considering using product keys on each blu ray, but will that fix the problem or cause more? After all it’s supposed to be a plug and play console, and certainly the used game market (which is still very attractive to budget conscious gamers) would be affected, possibly making the PS3 less attractive.
The glorious PC gaming platform is the only area that truly thrives (and will continue to thrive, for that matter, regardless of what silly console owners think) and a console needs to come about and rival that.
Valve could even partner with Sega and bring a full-fledged version of Steam to the console, mastering its digital download service!
The end is near… but is it only the beginning?
With such great possibilities and unlimited amounts of conspiracy thought, Sega’s time to strike is now. 2011 will see something from the company, whether or not it’s a new console.
A fourth competitor would make for interesting competition and would definitely shake things up. Think about this: we’ve been on a general five-to-six year console cycle since the 80s. Now, all of a sudden, our current consoles are proving to outlast this date, and we’re all confused over what to do as a result.
Out of nowhere comes Sega, with their fancy new hybrid console! It’s a flawless strategy.
Sega, I think you’re up to something; it’s only a matter of time until you let us know your secrets.
©2011 Nicholas Laborde