History of the Sega Dreamcast/Internet

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Unlike the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Saturn, where being able to connect to the internet was short-lived service bound by the lifespan of each console, the Sega Dreamcast was engineered around the idea of going online, with its services outlasting the console itself by a number of years. This page documents the history of the Dreamcast's relationship with the internet from its initial Japanese release in November 1998 to the present day.

Japan

North America

Shortly before launch a deal was struck with networking giant AT&T, who would provide the online infrastructure to Sega in return for being the Dreamcast internet service provider of choice[1]. Users could subscribe to one of three tiers of online usage (the top, $21.95/month "unlimited" plan coming with a free Dreamcast Keyboard) which would cover everything internet-related, including the future prospect of online multiplayer.

By August 2000 (with a full launch on September 7th) Sega were offering their own ISP, SegaNet, for low-latency online play geared specifically for Dreamcast consoles[2]. Sega even offered free Dreamcasts (with a Dreamcast Keyboard, or $200 for those who already owned the console[2]) to those who signed up with the service, in an effort to greatly increase the Dreamcast install base (the caveat being users had to sign up for minimum of two years at $21.95 per month)[3].

Alternatively, users buying a Dreamcast between June 4th and August 31st 2000 were eligible for a $50 "connectivity bonus", should they sign up for one month's worth of SegaNet access[4].

After the six month extension period, it Sega of America announced that effective June 2003, all official Dreamcast game servers in the US would be disconnected, save for those behind Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2[5].

Europe

3,000 uses registered on Dreamarena in the first 24 hours[6], with 1.2 million internet minutes clocked over the first weekend[7]. BT's servers were overwhelmed, forcing them to increase the capacity sixfold[7].

Australia

The Dreamcast took a while to get online in Australia. Having only signed an ISP contract the day before launch[8], all online services were delayed until March 2000 (although this ironically wasn't a problem, as the promised internet access discs were among the software held up in customs[8])).

A deal between Telstra and Ozisoft saw comma.com.au become the default Dreamcast homepage, powered by a similar Dreamkey service to Europe.

Aftermarket services

References


Sega Dreamcast
Topics Technical Specifications (Hardware Comparison) | History (Development | Release | Decline and Legacy | Internet) | List of Games
Hardware Japan (Special) | Europe | North America | Asia | Other regions
Add-ons Dreamcast Karaoke | Dreameye
Controllers Controller | Arcade Stick | Fishing Controller | Gun (Dream Blaster) | Race Controller | Maracas Controller (Third-party) | Twin Stick | Keyboard | Mouse | Third-party
Controller Add-ons Jump Pack (Third-party) | Microphone | VMU (4x Memory Card | Third-party)
Development Hardware Dev.Box | Controller Box | Controller Function Checker | Sound Box | GD-Writer | C1/C2 Checker | Dev.Cas | GD-ROM Duplicator
Online Services/Add-ons Dreamarena | SegaNet | WebTV for Dreamcast | Modem | Modular Cable | Modular Extension Cable | Broadband Adapter | Dreamphone
Connector Cables Onsei Setsuzoku Cable | RF Adapter | Scart Cable | S Tanshi Cable | Stereo AV Cable | VGA Box

Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable | Neo Geo Pocket/Dreamcast Setsuzoku Cable | Taisen Cable

Misc. Hardware Action Replay CDX | Code Breaker | Kiosk | MP3 DC | MP3 DC Audio Player | Treamcast
Third-party accessories Controllers | Controller converters | Miscellaneous
Unreleased Accessories DVD Player | Zip Drive | Swatch Access for Dreamcast | VMU MP3 Player
Arcade Variants NAOMI | Atomiswave | Sega Aurora