The Top 7... worst release dates EVER

Oh, how we loved Dreamcast. After years of staring at blurry N64 and horrifically ugly PSone games, the smooth, clean look of Sega’s white knight truly began the buzz phrase “next-gen graphics,” and the bundled modem kick-started online console gaming with hits like Phantasy Star Online, Daytona and NFL 2K1. But it wasn’t meant to last. A variety of circumstance ultimately led to the Dreamcast’s early end, chief among them (in our eyes) the overall timing of the launch.

Released on 9/9/99 in the US, Dreamcast had one major obstacle to overcome, a little something called Final Fantasy VIII. Realize the challenge posed by this one title – it’s the first Final Fantasy since VII, the game that changed the entire genre and brought PlayStation its first major victory against the N64. The hype was out of control, even higher than Sega’s brand-new hardware that blew away anything PSone or N64 were capable of handling. Despite the inferior specs, this one game successfully distracted gamers and fended off an entire hardware launch in the US.

There’s also the matter of PlayStation 2. Sega, in an attempt to be first to market (as it did with Genesis and Saturn), pushed Dreamcast out the door nearly two years ahead of the PS2 in Japan. This means that while Dreamcast looked far better than N64 or PSone, it couldn’t stand up against PS2, Xbox or GameCube, three systems that had plenty of extra time to one-up Sega’s early-to-the-party machine. By the time PS2 launched in 2000, the vast majority of gamers moved on immediately, leaving Dreamcast (and Sega) with a dwindling audience and few exclusive titles to keep existing owners interested.

Let’s recap:

To put it plainly, Sega jumped the gun, gave its opponents too much time to react, then pitted the US launch against one of the industry’s most anticipated games of the decade. All this while the average US gamer waited for the backwards compatible and DVD playing PlayStation 2, which went on to sell nearly 150 million units, far and away the most entrenched console of all time. Dreamcast, which quietly disappeared from the US in 2001, petered out just over 10 million.

What might have saved the machine? Well, another year in development couldn’t have hurt, making it a true competitor to PS2 instead of a better-than-Saturn half-step. With that extra time, plus a closer release date, perhaps in 2000 instead of 1999, Dreamcast might have made it through – provided Sega solved the myriad other issues plaguing the system. At least the ongoing fan community is strong, right?

Sorry if it sounds so doom and gloom, Sega. Let’s end on a high note and recommend its Valkyria Chronicles, a gorgeous RPG/shooter hybrid that’s almost certainly going to be lost in the hustle and bustle of the fall 2008 season.

Hear more about this article in TalkRadar.

Nov 10, 2008

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Top 7


  • Scaves - December 14, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    Anyone here had Threads of Fate?
  • QuickDEMOL1SHER - October 14, 2009 1:53 a.m.

    Halo 3 vs Blacksite: Area 51 should have been on here. I don't know a single person who even noticed Area 51 before 2008.
  • abzu - November 15, 2008 4:30 a.m.

    I just caught this at 666 diggs! (Incidentally, I was digg #667.) Talk about Digging up the beast... screenshot here:
  • pot - November 15, 2008 12:36 a.m.

    Valkryia Chronicles is a great game, I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle too much!
  • mrmugen53 - November 13, 2008 7:26 p.m.

    How about adding Geometry Wars: Galaxies to the list? It was the first time Geometry Wars was available outside of the 360, it was at a cheap price point, had multiplayer for the first time, multiple levels with an upgradable drone ship, and has a respectable gamerankings score of 81%. Then it launched one week after Super Mario Galaxy and no one ever knew it existed. The Wii had been starved for games and Sierra shipped it on the coattails of arguably the biggest Wii release up to that point. Ugh.
  • StupidFaceXD - November 12, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    Eh... Not my favorite Top 7, but it's ok.
  • CAPST3R - November 12, 2008 5:56 p.m.

    resistance 2 kicks gears 2's ass. it's been rated higher. and i never liked the first gears. but i loved resistance
  • pdiddy0819 - November 12, 2008 1:30 p.m.

    these games looks awesome...and i will be able to get if for free just for filling out surveys at-
  • MobstahLobstah - November 11, 2008 11:28 p.m.

    Those Air Traffic CHAOS guys MUST have planned that. No one can be that ignorant.
  • jimsondanet - November 11, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    poor okami i think the word is spreading tho ...slowly and hey, look at all the flops that got a sequal 10 years later amaterasu will live again!
  • TrIp13G - November 11, 2008 2:57 a.m.

    Poor Curse of Darkness. I never played it much, but the people in my CV union at GS opine over it every chance they get.
  • AMayer - November 10, 2008 11:59 p.m.

    Well, "purpleshirt", There is a chance that all of those games are going to do well and you can't predict the future. Good article.
  • garnsr - November 10, 2008 8:26 p.m.

    I've actually played quite a few of these games. The big releases aren't always the most fun, and you can get lots of these cheap after a few months, while the big games still cost full price.
  • CoD_22 - December 3, 2008 6:53 p.m.

    theyve missed the worst possible one! nintendo released the gameboy micro AFTER the ds! idiots! did they really think they could sell a gba in miniture rather than a dual screen touch screen thing?
  • jackf-11 - November 13, 2008 11:04 p.m.

    Sad PS3 fanboys, you only didn't enjoy Gears because you didn't want to. But I figured it out, the Japanese were behind 9/11, even though they have no army other than ours.
  • Smiffy99 - November 13, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    Man, for me, the worst release date was Halo 3...right on the day an aqquaintance had a volleyball game. UNTIL FIVE O' FREAKIN' CLOCK!
  • J1mMy94 - November 12, 2008 5:52 p.m.

    i agree with Eo1 spy. ive been waiting for resistance 2 for ages and they release it about a month ahead in the US hardly fair:(
  • solidsnake_5552000 - November 12, 2008 2:32 a.m.

    Oh my poor dreamcast!! This great console didn't deserve that fate.
  • Spike_the_Dogg - November 12, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    Agreed, Okami is the best game in a looong time. Me. Want. Sequel. NOW!!
  • Corsair89 - November 11, 2008 11:55 p.m.

    Okami is one of the greatest games I've ever played. I want a freaking sequel. I've been talking about how great it is when ever I get the chance.

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