I’d like to put a hypothetical scenario across to all the DC nuts who still think that Sega’s console is the best thing since sliced bread and that no other console has, or ever will, better it. This isn’t going to be the obvious rant about hating/loving a piece of hardware rather than it’s individual software offerings – I’ve gone through that enough times with the PSP – instead, I’m curious as to how important the Dreamcast brand is to these fans when compared to the architecture, design, and specifications of the machine.
My scenario is simple:
Sega are still publishing software for other formats, but in this scenario they hold the rights/patent/whatever you want to call it to the Dreamcast name, brand, architecture. However, one day a smart entrepreneur with a few billion to burn realises that people still obsess over the machine to this day. Since Sega aren’t doing anything with their Dreamcast rights, the entrepreneur buys the architecture rights. It doesn’t matter to Sega, because any sort of return to the hardware market would get the jism of the Sega fanboys flowing, and so they are more than happy to make the sale.
Meanwhile, this entrepreneur has a business to be starting. After much organisation of his labour and resources, this guy’s got Dreamcast hardware coming off the factory line by the minute; he’s more than ready to start branding and marketing. And herein lies the catch: since he never bought the rights to the Dreamcast name or brand, he has to release his console – a console with identical specifications to the Dreamcast (a week after launch, enterprising hackers were able to break the system so that it runs Dreamcast games in addition to its own) – under a name of his choosing. Would you buy it?
You see, I think that if people really loved the Dreamcast for it’s hardware and games (rather than the fact that it’s a Sega machine and they get geek kudos whenever they tell someone how much they love it), they wouldn’t care what it was called, or who made it. But how many people would genuinely be willing to accept the kind of scenario I have outlined?