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Dreamcast Mania! – EA

posted on August 16th, 2007 by christian

In my development of articles for Dreamcast Mania!, one theme has come up quite a lot – the lack of support from major companies like EA, Square and Konami greatly injured the Dreamcast’s chances of success. I agree that it certainly wasn’t a good thing, and I certainly agree that missing support from companies like Square and Enix in Japan was very close to receiving a death note. But when it comes to good ol’ Electronic Arts, I’m not so certain.

Hear me out with this one – the Dreamcast was released here in 1999. It died in 2001. 2001 is also the first year of Madden on the Playstation 2. Maybe my memory is foggy, but I remember that during the years of the original Playstation, it was NFL Gameday that was the big football game in town, while Madden was fairly shoddy. I don’t really think Madden had the same legendary success until the PS2 era, meaning that for at least some part of its life, the Dreamcast wasn’t really missing out (and in fact the NFL 2K games were very popular!).

Furthermore, big EA franchises like Need for Speed had only a few entries in them, The Sims was on PC, and the James Bond and Battlefield games didn’t exist. The dominant monolith of EA that we know now was not quite the same in the initial years of the Dreamcast.

My point? I don’t know how much lack of EA support mattered. Once the PS2 rolled around it would help finish off the console. But in the first two years, when the Dreamcast needed to establish itself, it likely would have benefited more from the support of other publishers.

So, time to battle it out in the comments section. Does my theory hold any weight? Let’s discuss!

5 Comments

  1. pat said on August 20, 2007:

    i cant believe you are right about madden. i assumed it had always been the bestselling football game by far, but gameday was a real player back then. and the nfl 2k series was no slouch either.

  2. Matt said on August 20, 2007:

    I’m gonna have to agree with Pat on this one. I do believe Madden was a formidable force when considering console sales back then. It wasn’t as big as it is today, but it wasn’t a slouch back then either. 2K was good, but it was more of an arcade approach to football than Madden was. And I do remember people telling me that they didn’t want a DC because they preferred Madded over 2K. And remember the uproar that EA created when they said it would use Live for its Sports titles? Granted that was 2 years after the DC died, but that’s a telling situation. I would have to say that not having EA on board was one of the bigger problems for the DC. It may have not been the sole problem, but it was definitely one of the cuts that SEGA couldn’t heal with the DC. And EA did have James Bond at that time. They had already released Tomorrow Never Dies for PS1 and The World is not Enough for the N64. That could have helped, as well.

  3. jay said on August 20, 2007:

    After reading hours of material from Sega 16’s site over the weekend, I disagree with Christian. EA was a huge part of the Genesis’ success and the company matters now. It seems odd to think that for a generation their support was mostly inconsequential.

  4. christian said on August 20, 2007:

    I forgot about those old Bond games, damn. I was thinking of everything post – Agent Under Fire, when the games got a fuck ton of attention. Also, I’m pretty sure the 2k football games evolved into a much more realistic game simluation of the sport, at least by 2k3. With Maximum Passing enabled I could never get a completion without reading the line. In Madden I have always managed to perform some asinine one handed catches through triple coverage.

  5. pat said on August 20, 2007:

    i should have been more clear. i wouldn’t have believed christian was right about madden until i actually did some investigating. according to wiki’s list of best selling video games, where they list everything that has sold more than a million copies, gameday 98 and 99 both sold over a million, as did nfl 2k and 2k1. the earliest madden on the list (on a single system, so the comparison to the others is fair) is 2004 (on ps2). this isnt to say ea (or even madden) is unimportant, just that i am surprised to see that madden’s dominance is a relatively recent phenomenon.

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