Back in August, Sega filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to protect the Dreamcast trademark. Now their original filing is good until December of 2009, this new filing has added some new terms to the mix that are sparking speculation of a Dreamcast 2 being in the cards. From the filing:
home video game machines; player-operated electronic controllers for electronic video game machines; video game interactive controller, namely, hand held pads, and floor pads or mats; joysticks for video games; computer cursor control devices, namely, computer mouse; flash memory cards; video game software, computer game programs
While most of the devices listed could easily relate to the original Dreamcast, flash memory cards and floor mats were never a part of the company's machine. Could Sega be quietly getting ready to re-enter the console business?As much as I wish this rumour were true, I don't believe it. More likely the company is updating the original trademark to cover additional items in order to make sure some enterprising company doesn't come out with a Dreamcast brand memory card or dance pad. Either that, or Sega is planning on getting into the peripheral market themselves - Dreamcast is still a pretty strong brand among fans after all. I just cannot see them jumping back in to the already crowded console market.
For one thing, Sega's software offerings haven't been all that stellar lately, in case you hadn't noticed. Sonic sells well to children, but most gamers can agree that their flagship franchise has been in a downward spiral since Sonic Adventure, and with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games they've managed to release the worst Mario game ever. They couldn't make a new console work on strength of software alone.
That leaves strength of hardware, and while the Dreamcast was an amazing little machine, I just can't imagine Sega pulling together the cash to manufacture something that could compete with the popularity of the Wii or the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Besides, many of us have already gotten our current gen machine picked, and with multi platform third party titles becoming the norm, we're right back at selling a hardware platform on first party titles, which again - not happening.
I'd love to be wrong here, really. I would really love to see Sega give hardware another go, and there will always be room in my heart and my entertainment centre for my Dreamcast, but no.