In essence, Sega is talking about a new hardware platform that uses off the shelf parts just as they always have done (I really love that part).
I will hold my breath as far as celebrating, but definitely good news! BTW I am a Sega fan.
Confirming years of rampant speculation, Sega today announced the next-generation Dreamcast2 entertainment console for worldwide release in Q1 2010. This marks Sega's first return to hardware manufacture since the original Dreamcast was discontinued in March 2001.
"There are those who thought today would never come," said Sega Corporation President Rieko Kodama. "Even within Sega, there are those who had their doubts. But the Sega today is not the Sega of yesterday! And I am pleased to stand introduce to you the Sega of tomorrow: the Dreamcast2."
Kodama's oblique reference to the "Sega of yesterday" no doubt refers to the the fallout from the ill-fated Sammy-Sega merger of 2003. Never a clear match, the odd couple's relationship was strained to the breaking point when Sammy's core pachinko business was found in late 2004 to have close ties to Japan's criminal underworld. The resulting legal and financial fallout forced Sammy to spinoff Sega just to stay afloat. Battered and bruised, the newly independent Sega was nonetheless able to retain key creative talent and refocus on their core business of video games.
The sleek, white Dreamcast2 features integrated wireless controllers and 802.1g/n wireless. Under-the-hood, it uses a quad-core Intel i7 processor and custom Nvidia graphics chip equivalent to a mid-range 300 series card. When pressed on why Sega chose to use "off-the-shelf" components, Kodama laughs, "We want developers to be able to use all the power of the Dreamcast2. That's the most important thing, right?"
Kodama would rather talk about the ClubSega free online service. ClubSega is designed as a "thin" online service that sits on top of existing services. "You already know who your friends are," explains Kodama, "and you've spent years building those relationships online. Why should you have to start that all again just because someone in Marketing wants your mailing address?" She waves her hand dismissively. "That's silly." Instead of a dedicated online service, ClubSega is being pitched as a "cloud" that integrates with the services you already use. Your status and achievements can be posted and tracked from Facebook, Twitter, mixi.jp, or even the ClubSega.com website. Online play will always be free.
Games announced for launch include:
* Sonic Factory - A 2.5D Sonic game with a focus on speed and platforming. Even more exciting is the robust level editor that allows players to create and trade levels online. From Sonic Team.
* Jet Blast Radio - Professor K and the gang are taking their message of peace, love, and tagging to the final frontier! Bring freedom to a dystopian space station while grinding and tagging in three dimensions. From Smilebit.
* Panzer Dragoon Drei - An "endlessly replayable shooter RPG" with dynamically generated levels (created by the "AI Direktor") and a focus on dragon evolution and customization. From Team Andromeda.
* Sega D 2010 - A stock car racer with a focus on mountain drifting and realistic weather modeling. From AM5.
From Software has announced that Chromehounds 2 and King's Field: The Seventh City will be available at launch. Square Co., LTD CEO Hiromichi Tanaka has also pledged support for the system, stating, "Square is extremely excited by the Dreamcast2. We look forward to bringing our classic franchises to this powerful new platform." Additional third-party game announcements will follow at a later date.
When asked how the Dreamcast2 would be competitive with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Apple's iPlay, Kodama's response was terse: "The games." When pressed for more detail, she replied, smiling, "We at Sega know our fans have been waiting a long time for this day to come. All we ask now is that they wait a while longer."