Opinion: So about Project Dream and their Dreamcast 2 plans – calm down, it’s not official or sane

Dreamcast2

Update: So after a bit of internet sleuthing and comments from those who have dealt with SEGA home console conspiracy artists in the past, all of this very well may be the work of the infamous Zach Morris. Mr. Morris, or whatever his name is, has been up to this sort of nonsense since 2003.

Because people often just read headlines and run to their local GameStop to have a in-depth chat with the guy at the desk to talk about how SEGA is totally making a new console and it is going to be dubbed the Dreamcast 2, I thought I’d present a short opinion piece on the Project Dream team and their plans to get SEGA to develop a Dreamcast 2. To be quite honest, after having read the Project Dream team’s plans and having heard about the project with one of their members for the past month I was ready to just ignore the whole thing. But given a few news sites are enthusiastically running the story and no doubt more will pick it up and run with it, I thought it best that SEGAbits said something about it. I should make note that this is not a news piece, it is an opinion piece.

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Here’s the gist of the project: Three guys are behind it; Patrick Lawson, an indie OEM Silicon designer and the founder of the Shenmue 500K group. It is also said that some SEGA of Japan interns are behind the project as well, but honestly there has been no proof of how involved these people even are and let’s be real, they are simply interns. The project’s leader is adamant that SEGA has the resources and finances to make a console. As such, he and his compatriots have taken it upon themselves to form a coalition to convince SEGA of this fact and get the company to change their direction and develop and release a new home console. The project essentially boils down to taking all that is out there publicly about how SEGA currently operates and creating a business plan for them to make a new console. Sounds pretty ambitious doesn’t it?

Over at the SEGAbits forums, a new member named EternalHope has been laying out his many plans for such a project and I am pretty certain EternalHope is Patrick Lawson. But in lieu of a confirmation that they are one in the same, I will refer to EternalHope and Patrick Lawson as separate individuals. To be quite honest, EternalHope has been all over the map. One day, SEGA is successful and has a ton of money so they should get back into the console world by hitting a market that no other console maker has yet to hit, another day it is said that SEGA is suffering and needs to do this to get back on top. In his words, the plan is “To inform Sega of Japan that there’s a NICHE market for another home consumer product.” What is that niche market? I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what it was. From what I can gather, this niche market is comprised of SEGA hardware fans, people who would buy an Ouya and NEO GEO X, casuals, and fans of digital SEGA titles. If I’m totally off base on this niche that has yet to firmly nailed down, EternalHope or one of the Project Dream leads can describe this niche in the comments and I’ll gladly make an edit.

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How about the hardware? The team seems to have something in mind that would hit all the types of consumers above. According to Cinema Blend‘s article, the plan is to create a “competitively priced PC rig to the market that can run Sega’s old and new games alike”. Project Dream team’s plan is to create a direct competitor with Steam Machines and dedicated gaming rigs offered by companies like Cyberpower and Alienware. All this effort to create something that already exists. So what makes Project Dream’s Dreamcast 2 different? Why would SEGA leave one market, the home console market, only to enter another market with a much smaller install base and competition that are already either struggling themselves or have dedicated fans that won’t jump ship for some SEGA branded product? Why not just push for a SEGA branded Steam Machine?

The console is said to run an Intel Core i5 Haswell and the plan is to design it to play SEGA games right off the hard drive after being digitally installed. The point of the system will be to play old and new Sega titles on HDMI compatible devices with HD upscaling capabilities. That’s right, SEGA would have to manufacture a machine that runs both Saturn and Dreamcast games AND installs the games permanently to the harddrive. This ignores the fact that the GD-ROM is a dead technology that would cost a significant amount to revive, and SEGA would have to deal with the legal issue of being able to play old games off of a harddrive, essentially making a machine that allows users to swap old games and have copies forever saved on their console. Why would SEGA want to get into this murky territory? Why would they go to all this effort to support libraries of games that they no longer profit off of? Have the Project Dream team forgotten that the Dreamcast can output a VGA signal and Saturn in S-video looks pretty damn good? The proposed console appears to boil down to a decent PC and two retro consoles, something most SEGA fans already own. If the plan is in fact to allow users to download digital images of discs, this opens up a whole other area which would involve SEGA creating their own digital store and online digital game sales infrastructure.

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Project Dream comprises of a business plan and a list of components for a new consumer console. These materials would then be presented to SEGA alongside a petition from fans showing their support for such an endeavor. The team have been running a change.org petition, and hope to continue the initiative as a Kickstarter carrying the SEGA license. I’ll admit, as a fan of SEGA hardware this sounds good. The problem is all the stuff I wrote before the last few sentences. In my opinion the team has very little sense. They come off as a group of fans operating more from their heart than their head. There is also something incredibly condescending in thinking they know more about what is best for the future of SEGA than SEGA’s own executives, and their reasoning for why SEGA should even attempt such a project is bizarre. It seems it all comes down to (this is my interpretation of their mission) “SEGA’s glory days were as a console maker, and while they are doing well now monetarily as a third party, emotionally they are bankrupt. SEGA needs to create a new console to win the hearts of fans, not to ensure that they will be financially stable in the future.” That’s always a good idea right? Lead a business with your heart rather than your head? I’m sure SEGA of Japan’s top brass will respond to such a notion (I’m saying this last bit sarcastically).

What of this petition? At the moment, it has 22,960 supporters and my name is not among them. Some SEGA fan I am right? Well, just reading the petition shows how professional the whole endeavor is. The end result is sending the following letter to SEGA of America (who, of course, are not the people to ask for hardware):

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Riveting stuff! I’m sure it will go right to Aaron Webber’s spam folder. I was told by EternalHope that they plan to alter the language of the letter, so that it is more professional and conveys the team’s plans, but nothing has changed yet and even then the fact that such an awful attempt at a letter has netted nearly 23,000 supports just shows how invested those supporters are. It’s easy to click a change.org petition, it’s difficult to have those same people pledge hundreds of dollars towards a new console which at this point is nothing but the dream project of three guys.

It should be noted that Project Dream is not in any way officially sanctioned by SEGA. You will probably hear otherwise, but believe me this is not an official SEGA project. When the news of the project first broke, I noticed that the team’s website carried the SEGA logo with the registered trademark. Of course, it is very easy to drag and drop a logo into a website template and make it appear official. I made note of this to EternalHope, and despite him saying there was no registered trademark (there was) after a few days it seems the team have pulled the image from their site. As for the SEGA of Japan interns who are onboard, over at the SEGAbits Forums EternalHope has assured us that these interns “are actually being hired to work in the lower tier levels at the new divisions of SEGA Holdings” and that “the ones we’ve spoken to happen to have shareholders and say on matter of suggestions to Chairboard executives”. He added “That’s how CSR applies to Japanese business law. Interns can act as shareholders with tiny shares of the company.” So get this, these interns – who again, are unnamed and it is unknown how involved they even are – are, in the mind of the Project Dream team, SEGA shareholders and in turn are an official SEGA endorsement.

Look, I’m not trying to shit all over Project Dream team’s plans, but they are making it hard not to. The whole thing feels like some overly enthusiastic fans playing a SEGA executive RPG with very little thought going into basic business principals. It doesn’t help that the team’s leader is saying this to the media:

But they [SEGA] NEED their fanbase to come back. They need their REAL fans(Not Sonic fans and software only fans) to form circles globally and take action submitting ideas for what they’d like to see. “Project Dream”‘s goal is to gather and rebuild SEGA’s old 90s brand. Ben Plato’s petition has gained significant momentum, and once they reach 25,000 sigs, we shall move forward with TWO NEW proposals for SEGA. One of them we’ll have crowdfuded, because it’ll involve SEGA becoming the first Japanese company to manufacture and license a PC gaming rig for a CHEAPER price than Dell! Spread the word. Get the sigs, get the fans, we’re going to regroup the old Army and get SEGA back in the hardware business!” Patrick Lawson‎, member of the Project Dream team

Now try and tell me that doesn’t read as a bit fanatical. Is this the type of person you’d trust to sway SEGA to returning to the console market? I personally love the jab at Sonic fans and “software only” fans, which I would assume to be anybody who enjoyed a SEGA game from 2002 onwards. Way to segment the fanbase and proclaim that there are true fans and fakers. Anyway, I’ve had my say. Best of luck on your quixotic endeavor, Project Dream team.

39 responses to “Opinion: So about Project Dream and their Dreamcast 2 plans – calm down, it’s not official or sane

  1. matty says:

    I had been wondering why people were mentioning SEGA when the site came up. That was leading me to think of a spin-off of Project Diva ;3

  2. Centrale says:

    If Sega did decide to license a re-issued Dreamcast system of some sort, they would probably work with their existing partner, atGames, that has released a number of Genesis-themed consoles. I bring that up as an example of an actual, legitimate business that went through the proper channels to bring a product to the market. atGames didn’t go around to fan forums gathering signatures and hassling entry-level Sega employees. I think it’s a problem if people think that online petitions are a primary motivator for publishers and manufacturers. If anything, petitions that seem to influence companies are exceptions to the rule, and in some cases I think they are used for PR when in reality the decision-makers have already given the go-ahead to whatever idea the petition represents.

    • JeanLucAwesome says:

      Oh gawd.. those things don’t even come close to the build quality of actual SEGA hardware. Those atGames “consoles” are cheap pieces of crap. Woof.

    • Centrale says:

      True. But they actually exist and are officially licensed, unlike the topic of this post. Maybe that would be a good, realistic thing to start a petition about – to get atGames to improve the build quality of their products.

  3. pso2love says:

    At this point, it’s not about asking SEGA to release a new console, it’s about asking SEGA to localize the games they already have in Japan, outside of Japan… you know, bring over the goodies that you said were coming westward over 3 years ago (shame on those who don’t know what I’m talking about).

  4. pirovash88 says:

    I like Barry won’t sign. It honestly sounds like a fan project to me. No basis or legitimate business practices taken into consideration.

    Having looked at their original site, it screamed of fan project. Just extremely unprofessional.

  5. Monado says:

    Why are you offending people who want a sega console? It seems so unfair of you barry. Let people dream and go for it. Maybe Who know it comes out and becomes succesfull. Your opinion is full of asumptions. Like you im very sceptical but that doesnt mean your right about everything. I signed the petition. I supported shenmue. And thats what i do as a sega fan. What i dont do i buy rereleases and give a false message to sega that rereleasing and porting is the way to go.

    • SEGA MAN says:

      Did you not read what Project Dream is about? It’s a system designed to play old SEGA games. In other words rereleases. I agree 100% with barry, I read the forum thread where this started. EternalHope sounds like a delusional fanboy. To be honest when I saw the website the first thing that popped in my head was that EternalHope is Zach Morris. There’s no way this will go anywhere. Barry made all the right points, why ditch what is making SEGA money for something that is a niche market? It’s crazy. I also don’t see anything that was offensive in this post, just cold hard facts.

    • If offending people means poking holes in an already shaky plan that is calling for holes to be poked in it, then I’m really not sorry. A new SEGA console will not happen thanks to dreams and wishes and other heartfelt notions, it will happen with people utilizing strong business principals and strategic planning. Project Dream seems to going for the former, rather than the latter. I will not blindly support every SEGA fan with simply good intentions (or worse, delusional ones). Others are free to support them, I am simply having my say and am raising questions that deserve much needed answers if such a project is to succeed. You don’t think SEGA of Japan will just sit back and accept a project built on dreams, do you?

      Interesting that you bring up rereleases and porting. Why don’t you support these things? What is the alternative for SEGA? That is how they make money off of their back catalog. SEGA constructing a console that plays old Dreamcast and Saturn and other disc based games does nothing for them monetarily. They are making hardware for a pre-existing software library that they won’t make a cent off of because the discs being inserted into the machine came from ebay auctions and used game stores.

    • Monado says:

      But i do understand you. I feel the same way. Im also sceptical. When has a petition ever made it. Exceptions. Operation rainfall.
      I know enternalhope. His former name was mrsega at sega-16.com. He is a fraud and got banned by the mods there. He was also active on ‘dreamcasttalk and got banned there. He used to say that sega orbi is a console. It turned out to be a holographic zoo. He wants followers to earn money. Eternalhope is alzo zachary morris. He is right about a lot and has confidential news. But he mix it with lies. Thats how he runs his biz. But i know the one doing this petition is not enternalhope. The pattern is clearly not the same. Signing the petition does not hurt. And for what its worth we all want a sega console that is succesfull. Succesfull os the word.

  6. fernandeath says:

    As Barry mentioned, I can’t see this being more popular than the Neo Geo X.

    Anyway, I signed the petition, I’m curious to see the next chapter of this story.

  7. danieu says:

    i think that sega is perfect where it is now i mean we dont really need another sega console

  8. As someone who runs an actually-somewhat-funded startup called Console, Inc… my brain hurts reading this.

    Whoever created that spec sheet is not qualified to execute. Haswell is old tech today, for one. You wouldn’t want to base a console on it because Intel is taking the chip out of production (and spare me the “they can get it for a bargain then!” because that’s not how things work).

  9. pso2love says:

    They should release PSO2 here in the West, before even thinking of making another console. I could care less about the Dreamcast now. It was all about the games, and always will be.

    • pso2love says:

      But then again, SEGA hates money. I would like to be proved wrong.

    • CrispX says:

      And sega loves to release sonic’s each year. They should even recieve any cent beacause of that obssession with sonic.

    • CrispX says:

      I mean Shouldn’t and because.

    • There really haven’t been that many Sonic games recently. 2015 had Runners and Dash 2. 2014 had the Boom games which weren’t from the main team or even from the usual suspects like Dimps. Lost World was the last main series title in 2013 and Generations was the last title from that specific team of developers within SEGA in 2011.

      So its been 2-5 years since the last Sonic game, depending on how you look at it.

    • CrispX says:

      They only talk about sonic and yakuza on every single post on SEGA Blog. Why they don´t give a break to talk about other games? Sonic on SEGA always in their head.

    • Twent says:

      @CrispX, Probably because, y’now, it’s Sega being…y’know…pro-business, what do you expect Sega to do? Put good business last in everything they do to appease merely a few thousand fans? They talk about these Sega IPs because they actually do extremely well financially with minimal risk. I don’t know how much you know about business but it’s pretty clear a good amout of the biggest die hard fans don’t. There’s so many of Sega’s IPs I’d love to see given another go, but I also understand business and the big risk that comes with it every time Sega attempts it. And a big part of running a business is in trying to minimise risk, and that’s a big part of how Sega is turning a profit today.

    • sonfan1984 says:

      “And sega loves to release sonic’s each year.”
      Besides the mobile titles, they haven’t release any substantial Sonic games this year, and they don’t release as many as they did in the past. Lost World is the last main series Sonic game in 2013, and after that Boom took over for a while until they announce the 25th anniversary title.

  10. Monty says:

    Those “plans” are bogus. Who wants Sega’s return to form to be a console with the primary function to recycle games? The only way Sega can really wow and grab a substantial audience is to present completely new hardware and content on par with the current generation. Otherwise they might as well be wasting money and have the former CEO spinning in his grave.

    • Monado says:

      Recycling? They have done that way to many times. Its not even funny anymore.
      I have to say. Its tempting to buy the 3d versions. I might buy them on b3ds

  11. RyofnHazuki says:

    If by dreamcast 2 they mean a steam machine, then I have zero interest on it and this comes from a big Dreamcast fan.

    Most people already own a current gen machine, asking them to make another investment is bad business. If Nintendo crashes and burns with NX, there is a third place that opens. When the ps5 and xbox2 arrive, release an alternative with quality hardware plus a strong launch lineup and free online gaming. Not everyone will buy it but you can conquer a place in the market.

    • DevAJS says:

      While I don’t doubt that Nintendo is on the verge of collapse unless they exit the hardware space, it would be incredibly sad to have Sega and Nintendo pushed out (though I haven’t helped as except for buying the DS and the 3DS for the wife I haven’t owned a Nintendo product since the NES (I was a Sega child, had Genesis through Dreamcast)). Although I’m sure the generation prior thought the same about Atari.

      I personally would be all for an @Games type Saturn/Dreamcast system as I have the Genesis version, but I agree with others that the build quality needs to be better. How much more expensive is a little thicker plastic? I would have spent another $10-$20 to just have thicker plastic. The NES is all plastic, but it didn’t feel like you could crush it with your bare hand.

      It’s sad to say, but I think the console space can only support two players at a time and we are just witnessing the official changing of the guard. It happened when Nintendo and Sega came on the scene (Atari tried to hold on with the Jaguar) and it’s happening now. Being a huge Sega fan that would have loved for them to have never left the hardware space, but in retrospect I think what’s most impressive is how long Sega and Nintendo did hang on. Sega put out two systems and Nintendo has put out three since Sony’s/Microsoft’s entrance.

      Sega’s demise started with the Saturn because they innovated with a multicore processor and they were so secretive that third party developers had trouble developing for it (which is why Sega games always looked so much better on the Saturn). Then with the Dreamcast they tried to right the Saturn wrong and were wide open, which was a bad idea because the GD-Rom was outed and everyone else decided to go to DVDs. So Sega’s demise was more of innovating too quickly. If they would have waited even a few months, Sega may still be a console maker.

  12. DCGX says:

    All this rumor/misplaced fan desire on the part of the perpetrators just makes me sad. 🙁

  13. Mistarooni says:

    This Sega revival guy is less trustworthy than Donald Trump’s Political Campaign………actually I’d trust him before Trump OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH #REKT

  14. Monado says:

    Donald trump is a rasist and discriminator of religions ideas and colors of the skin. We all know that.
    Even tho he doesnt clearly state it. But the mouth says of what is full in the heart.
    Sega however is not all of that. Sega is a gaming company for money who like to entertain people in exchange for that. I hate the gamble section of sega. But you gotta love the video game division

    • Twent says:

      Donald Trump isn’t a ‘racist’ – that word no longer matters anymore as it is so over-used and inaccurately used by leftys and libtard bleeding heart SJW types that are also all enemies to the videogame industry.
      Trump is only putting national safety first by this move after what recently happened in France, which is no more than what Jimmy Carter did with the Iranians, till they got more information about the safety risks posed and what the situation was like in the area they arrived from.

    • Monado says:

      Im not a leftist nor do i vote

      The man is clearly a rascist. If i was a muslim and id kick his ass. Wether you say less muslims or less black people or jews. It all comes down to hating the specific race or religion. He is full of it. You know it and i know it and they know it. You hearing this makes you panic and confused because its a fact and truth. To make yourself free from panic and confusion you will go to your likes to confirm your own belief in trump. Sega would be a better ruler it would make people happy.
      You know people bash sega and nintendo all the time. But i still find sega and nin the bettzr ones. Not because im a fan. But its because they make fun games. VIDEOGAMES!!!!

      not call of dutt killing vietnamese muslims chinese and such.
      Splatoon xenoblade phantasy star online Videogames man! Yakuza 5 is about a mob thing.

      Sony and bone only caters what we allready see on the television and its getting old. Lord of thz rings. War. Star wars. Call of duty battlefielf. Homefront. You lost uniqueness when sega died. And when nin dies all u will have left is a cloud machine full of dlc and micro’s

      Really tho. Losing sega is and was a big loss. And losing nin would be an end of an era where man owns games. And have fun

  15. sonfan1984 says:

    “But they [SEGA] NEED their fanbase to come back. They need their REAL fans(Not Sonic fans and software only fans) to form circles globally and take action submitting ideas for what they’d like to see.”

    Well excuse me! I guess since he singled out Sonic fans and fans who buy SEGA titles on software, I guess I’m not a REAL fan even though I’ve been playing other SEGA franchises besides Sonic all my life. I guess he don’t want my signature, so screw it.

  16. Patrick Lawson not in anyway involved with project dream. I would one of guys contact me on facebook. Guy cause more than good over this DC campaign. I’ll like to explain the situation.

  17. Mistarooni says:

    oh golly what have I done

    • Monado says:

      That sounds like a liar blaming a liar.
      Look i signed the petition wether a hoax or not. If they make that console ill buy it. I allready said its not zack

  18. What if I had the guts to quit my job.

  19. Yet another story of a “Dreamcast 2” that is, in reality, nothing more than another Xbox. We already have two identical, interchangeable HD videogame consoles. What good would a third accomplish?

    So fans want more Dreamcast sequels? Great. Sega did just that on the original Xbox. And none of them sold worth a damn. They also released titles for PS2 and Gamecube; again, didn’t sell.

    If you want Sega back in the hardware market, fine. Just pony up $500 million dollars and offer an alternative to what consumers already have now. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time. I can guarantee yo that this fan proposal will immediately go into the wastepaper basket. Sega will thank the authors for their dedication and hard work, yes, but the second they leave the building, that proposal goes into the trash. Sorry, kids. Welcome to the adult world.

    There is no money and no interest in a third HD clone with the exact same controller and exact same software. Ask Nintendo how their Wii U project worked out (they effectively abandoned their DS/Wii market expansion in favor of catering to the industry and its “hardcore gamers).

    That said, there are opportunities for Sega, Dreamcast and the vast history ofmclassic videogames. But this isn’t the right plan to realize that opportunity. Sorry, kids. But them’s the brakes.

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