So, my question is: did the Dreamcast lay down any specific guidelines, laws or requirements for Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to follow? Did the Dreamcast publicly put forward internet, web browsing and online play before the other console giants realised what was going on? Did the Dreamcast actually fall victim to its own ode to futurism or was it all a desperate gimmick to save Sega and fill an almost two year void before Sony released the PlayStation 2?
When setting out on an investigative piece like this the first place to start is the company you are writing for and ask for money. But Since Tom Charnock at The Dreamcast Junkyard is probably poor too (poorer than you can possibly imagine, as it happens - Tom), I’ve got more chance of getting the top job at IGN. So my journey starts here, on my laptop. I can travel anywhere for free...well, almost free - I need to pay the internet provider. I was thinking of going into my local village and asking around but they are all usually drunk by twelve in the afternoon so I’ll stay here. My first stop was a guy called Martin. Martin has been playing games for decades now, written a couple of previous guest articles here at the Junkyard (here and here), and nobody is quite sure of his real age. But since he has a wealth of experience in the field of gaming, I sent him a DM asking if he felt the Dreamcast was innovative or a gimmick.
I didn’t know what kind of reply to expect. He took more than thirty minutes to reply to the direct message. Maybe he wasn’t interested? Was he withholding sensitive information about the Dreamcast? Was he a spy for Kotaku? He finally answered with a one word response: "Desperation." I knew I had hit gold with this reply. This didn’t just confirm my belief that Sega needed the money instantly, but this also confirmed Martin was indeed part of Gamergate.
Sega really hit the rocks after the failing misadventures of the Mega CD, 32X, Saturn, Nomad, Game Gear, The TV Tuner, Wonder Mega thingy, and the pink kids one and the portable music playing Mega Drive. So was Sega’s attempt at bringing online gaming to the console masses a quick and cheerful way of exploiting gamers? I needed to know. The reply from Martin got me thinking. What if I asked somebody else on twitter. What if I asked them 'did Sega release the Dreamcast too early to cash in before Sony ripped them a new hole?' In fact, what if I asked all of Twitter. What would be the reply? Am I popular enough to get a strong reception on the question? I decided to tweet a poll, because by this time I was actually proper bored. So I ran the poll.
The question was: 'So. Dreamcast. Released too early for it's own good?'
The results were outstanding:
After only ten minutes the polls had the answer at 'Yes.' This confirmed to me that Sega did indeed cash in on the Dreamcast. At this rate I’m sure to be paid for writing gaming investigative pieces for Kotaku and Polygon within a week. With all the new information pouring out of the woodwork involving the Dreamcast and the conspiracy involving it being released early for quick cash in, this leads me to believe that the money made from this cash was to fund the Dreamcast 2. And there I shall leave it. Draw your own conclusions.
Erm. Thanks for that cracking piece of investigative journalism, Daniel. Seriously though - what do you think? Was the Dreamcast released too early? Continue the discussion over at our Facebook group or throw insults at Daniel on Twitter here.
The Science Bit:
As a footnote to Daniel's article, I'd like to conduct a little social experiment. I've started to notice that a lot of people comment on these article links on social media but don't actually read them. So if you've gotten all the way to this point and came here from Facebook or Twitter, and you wish to leave a comment on either of those social networks, simply write "sugar puffs" at the end of the comment (or just that!) and I'll be able to collate information on the number of people who took the time to read this before commenting...because what's the point otherwise, right? Cheers!