With the current state of the gaming industry today, a company with the background and experience such as SEGA could make a big splash if it would be willing to invest back into the hardware market. Rumors have been swirling about a Dreamcast 2 for the past few years and this device could just be a streaming-capable system with no footing. SEGA would be better off forking out the big bucks and making a dent in the market. While it may not need to compete directly with Sony and Microsoft in terms of featuring that type of hardware, SEGA could venture to compete with the likes of the Nintendo Switch and ultimately find itself profitable.
The Nintendo Switch’s hardware architecture is dated in comparison to the PS4 and Xbox One, but the system has been successful based on its first-party titles and the portability of the system. SEGA would not need to make their system a portable system, but could easily design its games to look and run great on its own platform with an equivalent hardware profile. This could also open up third-party support for both the Switch and a SEGA console if developers had two systems of the same architecture to play with. This means competition.
Atari is asking $199 for a system that has original 2600 games on it and a huge question mark. SEGA is finally releasing a Genesis retro system much like the NES and SNES Classic. SEGA would be better off pulling an Atari move but getting fully back into a true console rather than doing a retro system. SEGA has the name to make a splash and clearly hype for the aforementioned Dreamcast 2 has garnered a lot of interest. Now would be a good time to do this since the company ditched hardware development and support in 2001. At that time, the more powerful PS2 and Xbox were blowing the Dreamcast out of the water as SEGA lacked the third-party support at that time. SEGA ended up dedicating itself to developing just software, but the company has so many of its own franchises that haven’t even been used in decades.
SEGA could honestly keep the third-party support of selling software open while reigniting the flames of some ancient franchises as exclusives. Imagine Bayonetta being the number one exclusive franchise outside of Sonic? Even if SEGA wanted to keep selling those franchises to other consoles, the company has plenty of titles at its hips. Imagine a new Streets of Rage or Eternal Champions? The return of SEGA GT and SEGA Rally? Toe Jam & Earl, Echo the Dolphin; SEGA has more exclusive franchises than Microsoft does right now. The arsenal is there and the way people eat up nostalgia nowadays, SEGA releasing a new system would be successful.
Some people complain about the lack of games the Nintendo Switch has. The new Nintendo system has done fairly well in having games available, but Nintendo lacks direct competition. People can compare hardware sales between the PS4, Xbox One and the Switch, but ultimately due to the lesser hardware, gaming on the Switch is of a different breed that could use some competition. SEGA would not only ignite and old console war, but could improve the market of mid-tier gaming and push Nintendo to pump out more content.
The one thing SEGA wouldn’t be fresh with is online capabilities. Yes, the Dreamcast included a dial-up modem for gaming, but it was hardly used. Funding would be needed to create an online experience. Nintendo will beginning charging customers for online service later this year when it previously had not on the past two consoles. SEGA could maintain a free online experience, but again funding would be needed to get it started.
The world would certainly welcome SEGA with open arms if it ever elected to get serious about hardware again. The time certainly feels right as a competitive piece of hardware would be needed and not necessarily the most powerful. Third-party support akin to the Switch could work and make it more inviting for developers to devote time to create games that aren’t for just one system. Most importantly, the back library of franchises that SEGA has is enough to create a library with. The option for virtual console allows for and even deeper library if it were to include games from every SEGA system released. Instead of potentially making some small Dreamcast 2 that plays Android games or something of the like, SEGA should look at going bigger than that. There is currently a petition to release a Dreamcast 2 design from SEGA. You can sign it here.