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Peter Moore: I pulled Sega out of the hardware market

Monday, 15th September 2008 11:10 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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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.

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14 Comments

  1. Robo_1

    As you say, a very frank interview. I maintain that if EA had supported them from the start, then they had a good chance of keeping the PS2 off balance, long enough for Dreamcast to get a strong enough foot hold.

    People complain about PS3′s first year being poor for games, but against PS2′s, it’s been an embarrassment of riches.
    Dreamcast could have really shone through had it received stronger third party support.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Shatner

    Hindsight’s a bitch

    #2 6 years ago
  3. trav

    At the end of the day, business-wise SEGA did do the smart thing. Better to save the business, then try to pump more money to something that isn’t working.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. No_PUDding

    Well every console has a difficult start.

    I hadn’t really even considered a Dreamcast.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. pjmaybe

    Pah. Twas not Moore that kilt the beast, twas EA. As soon as they said they weren’t going to support the DC, that was it. A lot of high profile games in development were canned (Stuff like Colin McCrae Rally 3 etc) and the writing was on the wall. A pity, because the machine was bloody awesome.

    Still, Sega are laughing up their sleeves about it now I should imagine. Rumour has it they’ve got more than enough cash floating about as a result of not having to worry about hardware platforms. Good for them.

    Pity they keep reviving their shittiest IPs though.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. No_PUDding

    Be fine if they could make their shittiest IP, their best.

    Sonic could easily be made awesome again. I could do it. Infact I would make it Burnout-esque, and it would work.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. OrphanageExplosion

    In Europe at least, Dreamcast’s demise was a foregone conclusion. Despite a handful of great staff, the bottom line is that Sega Europe was being run by people who just didn’t understand the big brand mentality required to compete against PlayStation.

    For those of us who’d been working with Sega since the Megadrive days it was sickening on an almost physical level to see the company making so many gaffes, especially in marketing. The Saturn era was bad enough, Dreamcast was even worse.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. patlike

    It was a bit hopeless, there’s no doubt. Some of the stories flying around at the time about how things were being run were really mental.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. mortiferus

    SEGA could have gone toe to toe with Sony, the dreamcast after all was a well engineered machine. But once the hype started to roll for Sony it appeared as everyone just abandoned ship for no reason.

    I still have my DC, and play it every onece in a while. Good times, good times.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. patlike

    There was nothing wrong with the machine at all. OE’s right: it was how it was sold. The world was waiting for PS2 and Sega just didn’t step up to the mark, in all reality.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. OrphanageExplosion

    Yes, £10m spunked on Arsenal shirts and Sean Pertwee voiceovers. The fact that Sega veteran Mark Maslowicz is a staunch Arsenal fan leads me to believe that once again, the games industry’s very own TEMPORAL COMMANDO may have been up to his old tricks again…

    #11 6 years ago
  12. VRB BOO

    As pointed out, it wasnt software or hardware which led to the demise of the dreamcast it was the fact sega just didnt have the know how to compete marketing wise with sony.

    Lets be fair sony are the marketing whores of the industry
    but they are being given a run for their money this time with microsoft and nintendo.

    I have very fond memories of the Dreamcast and truth be told I played it lot more back then than I do now with the 360 and ps3.

    And I dont regret shelling out over 600 notes for it on import, but I do regret spending 300 on my ps3 lol

    #12 6 years ago
  13. ecu

    Right guys, we know who to blame. It wasn’t Sony after all, it was Peter Moore! Get your pitchforks ready.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. No_PUDding

    I swear it was EA….

    #14 6 years ago

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