The early 2000’s were an interesting time in video games. The Xbox debuted on the market, with Microsoft giving it a try for the first time; the PlayStation 2 got off to a strong start; and the Nintendo GameCube was introducing a new generation of favorites to fans of the company.
But then there was the Dreamcast, Sega’s final foray into gaming hardware before it eventually turned to third-party game publishing instead. For a little while there, the system was perfect for many fans, with a number of exclusives, as well as online support through the SegaNet service. But then, sadly, it faded away just as quickly as it arrived. Now an interesting story has emerged from the ashes, suggesting that Sega had an alternate future in mind for the console once it left the market.
A story has popped up on Reddit that’s getting an interesting amount of buzz, focusing on how Sega may have actually gone to Microsoft in an attempt to keep Dreamcast alive -- something founder Bill Gates wasn’t entirely crazy about.
The story notes that Sega chairman Isao Okawa reached out to Gates several times after the Dreamcast had been discontinued, with a very simple request. He was hoping that the Xbox could be modified -- either physically or with some kind of update -- to play Sega Dreamcast games so fans could continue to play games online, such as Phantasy Star Online.
A novel idea, to be sure. And at the time, Sega could’ve easily given the Xbox a boost against the PlayStation 2 and GameCube, and added a new audience. Plus, Microsoft could’ve cut a deal to get some profits from sold Dreamcast games, perhaps generating enough interest to get new ones made.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. According to the story, Gates declined. As a result, Sega found themselves in dire straits after moving to third-party publishing, which prompted Okawa to donate almost $700 million in stock to keep Sega out of bankruptcy. A generous move, to be sure.
Sega didn’t have any comment on the story, and considering it happened nearly two decades ago, we’re not likely to see any official comment from them or Microsoft. However, we’ll see what historians have to say on the matter.
To think what might have been with a partnership between Microsoft and Sega. Heck, imagine what the Xbox One would’ve looked like now with Dreamcast support. Talk about an asset. But, at the very least, we’ve got Dreamcast games coming to the Nintendo Switch...maybe.
(Hat tip to Reddit for the scoop!)