Sega launched the Dreamcast in North America on Sept. 9, 1999, kicking off the sixth console generation and the era of internet-connected gaming consoles. Today, exactly 15 years later, Electronic Arts chief operating officer Peter Moore — who was the president of Sega of America back then — posted some thoughts on Twitter about what he called "The Little Console That Could."
The Dreamcast debuted in Japan in November 1998, and Sega brought it to North America nine and a half months later. By the end of March 2001, less than five months after Sony launched the PlayStation 2 in North America, Sega had discontinued production of the Dreamcast, with issues such as staggering financial losses and rampant software piracy contributing to its demise. Sega dropped out of the hardware business entirely to become a developer and publisher of games.
"The memories of course are bittersweet — we all know how this movie ended — but I was fortunate to have worked at that time with some of the most amazingly dedicated individuals, all of whom were galvanized around a single goal: prove the naysayers wrong, launch the console with a bang, get to a meaningful installed base within the first twelve months, and keep the momentum going in the face of the upcoming stiff competition," said Moore.
Moore added that he and the Dreamcast launch team still meet up every so often to tell stories and look back on "the legacy we firmly believe can be seen and felt in gaming to this day." In addition to bringing console gaming to the internet with a built-in 56K modem, the Dreamcast led the way with a slate of terrific sports titles under its Sega Sports brand. That included the venerated NFL 2K franchise that Moore's future employer, EA, killed off in 2005 by signing an exclusive contract with the NFL for its Madden NFL series.
"In our heart of hearts, we worried that we would not be there for the entire journey," said Moore, "but it was with great pride that with our Sega Sports games in particular, that we ushered in the era of connected interactive entertainment.
"I don't think it is an overstatement to say that the Dreamcast and it's [sic] online network laid the ground for what we all take for granted today — online game play, linking innumerable gamers from around the world to play, compete and collaborate, as well as enabling new content to be delivered in addition to that which was delivered on the disc."
Moore ended his note with a link to Sega's 90-second TV spot for the North American launch of the Dreamcast. You can check it out below, and offer your own memories of the console in the comments.