Back in 1999 I was the proud owner of a Sega DreamCast. It was a great console with many excellent games such Hydro Thunder, Soul Calibur and my personal favorite, House of the Dead 2. However, less than three years after its successful introduction, the console was discontinued. I understand that many factors drove Sega to take this difficult decision. Strong competition from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo is probably the most widely cited reason with the lack of DVD playback capability coming in as a close second.
While I do agree that these explanations are valid, I thing that there was more to it. Sega was financially weaker than its competitors and while the one year head start they enjoyed over everyone else helped them generate a lot of cash, that proved to be insufficient. Why? Many Sega early games were extremely successful, generating millions in sales. So, what happened? My perception is that piracy killed the Dreamcast.
Just when competitors were launching their new consoles, the Utopia bootdisk became available. This disk allowed to play “backup” game disks. This had a devastating effect on Dreamcast software sales in many countries, at a critical time for Sega that needed a lot of marketing dollars to compete.
I see something similar happening to the Wii. The recently announced hack will open the flood gates for pirated games and will deprive Nintendo from some badly needed cash to fight Microsoft and Sony. Add that to the fact that Americans, who are statistically less likely to adopt piracy, are quickly adopting HDTV and will therefore ask for more HD content and you will understand why I am not upbeat about the future of the Wii. So, if you love your Wii and want to prove me wrong, keep buying original games.