Yosuke Okunari – the Sega staffer who has been heavily involved with many of the company’s recent retro ventures, including the Sega Ages line and the Mega Drive Mini – has hinted that the company may tackle a “Dreamcast Mini” in the near future.
Sega’s final major foray in the world of home consoles, the Dreamcast played host to titles such as Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue and Skies of Arcadia, but despite strong sales in North America, it couldn’t pull the company out of the hole it found itself in following the underperformance of the Saturn, and it soon became clear that the market was moving in favour of Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 2, which would go on to sell a staggering 155 million units to the Dreamcast’s 9.13 million.
Speaking to Famitsu in an interview translated by Nintendo Life contributor Robert Sephazon, Okunari says:
Next, we’re considering concepts similar to the Mega Drive [Genesis] Mini. If I had to name some ideas, something like an SG1000 Mini or a Dreamcast Mini.
Okunari states that they won’t be able to complete the next mini console project due to its scope by this time next year – or, in other words, two years after the Mega Drive Mini was released. Because of the high cost and time necessary to develop the next project, Sega is going with the one that has the most realistic potential for success in the global market.
When the Famitsu interviewer playfully suggests Sega should miniaturise the massive R360 arcade machine, Okunari takes it in good spirit:
Yes, something like that. (laughs) Maybe we’ll even develop a Walk the Dog Mini!
This doesn’t mean that the Dreamcast Mini is a dead cert, of course – an SG1000 Mini would be easier from a technical standpoint, and a Master System Mini could be viable as Sega has recently released the Game Gear Micro, which is based on a handheld console that has a very similar architecture to Sega’s 8-bit NES rival.
The Game Gear Micro is only available in Japan. As we have the world [market] in consideration, when we develop our next [Mini] project, the scope will be much greater.
Dreamcast emulation is at a very advanced stage these days, so that particular system would make a lot of sense for Sega’s burgeoning mini-console line – and the machine is relatively famous globally, despite selling so few units back in the day. Time will tell.