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Project dreamcast

Project dreamcast

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Published by: anurag4u10 on Jun 14, 2010
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Project Dreamcast
Executive Summary
Sega Enterprise is preparing for the launch of its Dreamcast home video game platform. Dreamcast’s graphics engine card, PowerVR2, which is supplied by NEC, would not be available inrequisite quantity to meet the full demand during the launch of Dreamcast. They have to choose between either delaying the launch of Dreamcast or reduce the number of machines availableduring the launch.Sega had been into the business of arcade games for close to 32 years before it ventured intohome video segment. Sega’s home video business had drawn in significantly from the technicaldesign of arcades. Sega had ported software from its arcades onto the new home video platform.In terms of their usage, there was a difference in the way these two platforms differed. Arcadegames were designed so that they had a judicious level of difficulty, such that they were neither too easy to master nor too difficult that the user might stop paying money to play on arcades.Home video games, could afford to be much tougher since that would help in retaining theinterest of the home video user.Sega launched its Project Dreamcast with the twin objectives of delivering the best-in-classgaming console experience and to get back at the No.-1 position in the home video game consoleindustry. By means of Dreamcast, they aimed to corner more than half the market share in thenext-generation home gaming market.Sega’s strategy for designing its Dreamcast platform rested on the three cornerstones of minimizing the manufacturing costs, improving third party software developer relationships andstandardizing costs across different hardware platforms of arcade, home video and personalcomputers.
Project Dreamcast
Problem Statement:
Sega is facing a situation where they are falling short with the Power VR2 chip which is capableof giving Dreamcast the computational power to render thousands of characters. The productioncompany of Power VR2, NEC had underestimated the technological complexity of Power VR2.This project is the toughest project from NEC. Though they have assigned enough productionfacilities to produce the required number they are falling short because of the low yield rates.They lack the experience of producing a chip with five aluminium layers. Hence Sega needs totake a decision on the launch of its latest product Dreamcast.
:Sega Enterprise is founded by two Americans in 1951 to import arcade games for U.S armedforces in Japan. By 1983 revenues had jumped up to 24.3 billion yen. Since the growth isslowing down in the arcade business its new president Nakayama decided to enter home videomarket. Along with CSK, Sega now had the technical support to enter the home video gamemarket. The success of their second product Mega Drive proved Nakayama’s faith in the market.The company was doing extremely well in those years. Post war period in 1997 the home videogame market witnessed a price war between Sega, Sony and Nintendo. Low demand coupledwith general economic contraction led to 30% reduction in the Japanese market.By 1997 Sony was enjoying record sales and profits. Key to this is the repositioning of its products. Sony’s PlayStation mobilized considerable Hardware, Software and Manufacturingexpertise. PlayStation had become more than a toy. Within no time it captured more than 57% of the domestic market share, 53% in American market and 65% in European market.Mean while new products from Nintendo and Sega came to the market. Sega came up with its32-bit offering called Sega Saturn. Sega Saturn suffered from comparison from the PlayStation both in terms of price and software. The market share of Sega dropped to a pathetic 9.8%Sony stood as a single dominate player in the market with its PlayStation with Nintendo andSega at distinct second and third. The advent of PlayStation the home video game marketwitnessed a sea change in the industry. At this stage Sega is willing to come up with a new product called Dreamcast to improve its hold on the market.
Project Dreamcast
:Dreamcast is driven by two goals- to deliver the best gaming experience through the mostversatile console and to win back the no. 1 position in the home video game market. The strategyfor the designing Dreamcast had three elements: to minimize manufacturing costs, to improverelations with third- party game software developers and to standardize the hardware acrossarcade, home video game and the PC play systems.Sega engaged the third- party software companies’ right from the beginning of the development process. The following changes has been taken place to ensure smooth interaction: Engineer/designer exchanges with third party software houses, Creation of software support withinhardware design section, Participation by third- party software houses in design of hardware andsoftware development toolkits and Internal and third- party game software developers receive thesame priority for toolkit software release.To standardize the hardware across arcade, home video and PC play stations Sega formed aconsortium of high technology companies- Hitachi, NEC, VideoLogic, Microsoft and Yamaha to produce the graphics, acoustics and programming environment standards that would allowinterchangeability across different markets.
:Some of the mistakes done by Sega in the process of development of Dreamcast are:
Settling down to Voodoo graphic accelerator from 3Dfx. By giving the generalversions of the most basic library to allow rapid porting of game software did notresonate well with the game software developers. Without this Voodoo chip didnot impress with its power. Hence they had to choose another chip which canrender four million polygons in a second. They found out a chip called Power VR2 designed by VideoLogic and manufactured by NEC. Sega had to pay 10million dollars for the infringement of IPR to 3Dfx. Though programmers are notwilling to use the library API created by Sega to reduce the amount the gamedevelopment time they succeeded in convincing them.

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