A Guardian interview with Peter Moore has yielded probably the frankest ever description of Dreamcast’s demise, the exec saying he personally made the call to pull Sega out of the hardware market and head in the direction of multi-format publishing.
“We had a tremendous 18 months. Dreamcast was on fire – we really thought that we could do it,” he said. “But then we had a target from Japan that said – and I can’t remember the exact figures – but we had to make N hundreds of millions of dollars by the holiday season and shift N millions of units of hardware, otherwise we just couldn’t sustain the business.
“So on January 31 2001 we said Sega is leaving hardware – somehow I got to make that call, not the Japanese. I had to fire a lot of people, it was not a pleasant day.”
Moore added that even moving 100,000 units a day wasn’t enough to stop the rot in the console’s final days.
“We were selling 50,000 units a day, then 60,000, then 100,000, but it was just not going to be enough to get the critical mass to take on the launch of PS2,” he said.
“It was a big stakes game. Sega had the option of pouring in more money and going bankrupt and they decided they wanted to live to fight another day. So we licked our wounds, ate some humble pie and went to Sony and Nintendo to ask for dev kits.”
Anyone who remembers the collapse of Dreamcast is likely to recall it as one of the most sensational games news stories of all time. Read the interview. Fascinating stuff.