“We had a tremendous 18 months. Dreamcast was on fire – we really thought that we could do it,” Moore explained. “But then we had a target from Japan that said we had to make x hundreds of millions of dollars by the holiday season and shift x millions of units of hardware, otherwise we just couldn’t sustain the business.
“So on January 31st 2001 we said Sega is leaving hardware. We were selling 50,000 units a day, then 60,000, then 100,000, but it was just not going to be enough to get the critical mass to take on the launch of PS2. Somehow I got to make that call, not the Japanese. I had to fire a lot of people, it was not a pleasant day.
“It was a big stakes game. Sega had the option of pouring in more money and going bankrupt and they decided they wanted to live to fight another day. So we licked our wounds, ate some humble pie and went to Sony and Nintendo to ask for dev kits.”
The admission follows comments made to MCV last month in our MCV Legends feature, where he said of the Dreamcast fiasco: “We were coming off the Sega Saturn debacle, so the consumer was justifiably sceptical. We had to build a positioning, creative campaign, pricing and distribution strategy, even figure out whether to put the modem in the box or make it an add-on peripheral.
“The parent company was in dire financial straits, Electronic Arts had decided to not publish for the platform – bless them – and US boss Bernie Stolar left the company a month before launch. Oh yeah, and we had to figure out how to work multi-player games through a 56k modem.
“Somehow we pulled it all together for the agreed date of 9.9.99, and for the next year and a half gave everything we had to take on the PS2 juggernaut. I still take pride on behalf of the team that I have yet to meet anyone who regretted buying a Dreamcast. I’ve still got mine.”