The PlayStation Turns 20 and the Dreamcast Turns 16 Today
Arcade Sushi would like to wish a happy 20th birthday to the original PlayStation console and a sweet 16th to the Sega Dreamcast.
20 years ago today, the Sony PlayStation made its North American debut. Exactly four years later, the Sega Dreamcast did the same. Whether you want to call it the PS1, PSX or PlayStation One (though the PSone was a smaller, redesigned version of the original console), it's hard to deny that Sony's platform was the more successful of the two. Numbers-wise, the PlayStation became the first gaming console to ship 100 million units, whereas the Dreamcast only sold 10 million units. Just a few of the noteworthy classics of the PlayStation include Final Fantasy VII-IX, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 1-3, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Chrono Cross, Suikoden 1-2, Grand Theft Auto 1-2, Tomb Raider 1-4, Parasite Eve 1-2 and Tekken 1-3. Amazing games such as these helped Sony take control of the gaming market, overshadowing its contemporaries: the 3DO, Atari Jaguar (ugh), Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64. By the time of the Dreamcast's launch, Sony already held 60 percent of the overall video game market in North America.
Two major factors played into the Dreamcast's failure: competition and format. With Sony dominating the market and Nintendo scrambling to hold second place, Sega was already in a ditch due to the Sega Saturn console's financial failures (the combined failures of the Sega CD and Sega 32X already caused disinterest in the brand). Furthermore, the anticipation and hype surrounding the PlayStation 2, which would launch in March 2000, undermined interest in what would turn out to be Sega's final attempt at a home console (excluding the Japanese Pico Beena thing Sega made that some of you might mention).
For some reason, Sega decided to make the Dreamcast formatted for GD-ROM discs. Sega and Yamaha partnered up to mass-produce these weird discs in order to avoid the expenses of DVD technology, which the PlayStation 2 embraced and Nintendo shunned. Gigabyte Discs were exclusive to the Dreamcast and a few Sega arcade machines, but it turned out that there was no piracy protection on them. Millions of gamers found out that you could easily copy the Dreamcast's library onto CD-Rs without much trouble (self disclosure: copied Dreamcast games were treated as currency in my high school and everyone was trading them like Pokemon cards just for the sake of completing their pirated Dreamcast collection). The craziest thing was that you could easily burn a copy of a Dreamcast GD-ROM with a normal CD writer and the system would play your CD-R copy without any issues.
Unfortunately, Sega would never properly recover from the woes of the Dreamcast, permanently dropping out of the hardware business and primarily focusing on developing games made for the systems of its former rivals. Nevertheless, there were plenty of great titles to be played/burned for the Dreamcast, includingShenmue 1-2, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Jet Set Radio, Skies of Arcadia, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Samba de Amigo, Power Stone, Sonic Adventure, Graddia II and Phantasy Star Online. I was fortunate enough to have both consoles as a youngster and am grateful for all the memories I have with both systems.
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