How Sega and the Dreamcast Could Have Won Sixth Generation Console War - Part 2! 3DO M2 vs Model 2 -

How Sega and the Dreamcast Could Have Won Sixth Generation Console War – Part 2! 3DO M2 vs Model 2

Video Game Esoterica
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The Sega Dreamcast didn’t have to fail! It could have been successful and kept Sega in the console wars…had they completed a deal with 3DO to buy the M2 technology. It was SO CLOSE to being finalized and fell apart at the last minute. Retro gaming alternate reality fun coming in hot!


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It should come as no surprise I am a fan of the 3DO M2 AND the Sega Dreamcast. As a Dreamcast / Sega fan the fact that Sega no longer makes video game consoles really bums me out…but it didn’t have to be that way! Let’s rewrite retrogaming history!

Did you know Sega almost purchased the M2 technology from the 3DO Company to release an add-on / successor console to the Saturn in 1996? and that by 1999 they could have released the 3DO MX console with a built in DVD rom drive and had a console that was CLOSE to rivaling the PlayStation 2 on the market before Sony even released the PS2? Or that Sega actually coded some game demos for the 3DO M2 in anticipation of releasing the hardware and getting their internal development teams ready to make games for the M2 architecture?

Well all that is true and this is the story of how Sega could have potentially won the Sixth Generation Console War and been successful enough to NOT have to leave the hardware business! Retrogaming would have been so much better had Sega succeeded!

In this episode we will be directly comparing the 3DO M2 vs the Sega Model 2 arcade boards to prove that Sega could have had Model 2 power levels of hardware in a home console in 1996!

Questions? Comments? Just leave them below and I will do my best to answer each and every one of them!

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  1. SEGA of Japan always resented SEGA of America & SEGA of Europe's success. It's something SEGA of Japan was never truly able to achieve in the home console market. Thus, it's highly-unlikely SEGA Enterprises (owned & administered in Japan) would've allowed SEGA of America or Europe to come out w/a 6th generation console, especially w/3 other consoles out or soon to be out in the market. They'd make more money as a 3rd party than w/another console trying to compete in an pver-crowded market that was far smaller then than it is now.

  2. Konami M2 is the best arcade console. Like Battle Tryst, TotalVice, Evil Nigh, Heat of Eleven '98 and even Tobe Polystars!

  3. Ooh….. A pleasant surprise this morning!

  4. Love this look at the m2! I alwaus thought Konami was knocking off sega. I prefer segas look and gameplay, even if m2 technically surpassed it

  5. Definitely Sega could use M2 as replacement fo Model 2 for low end arcade market, because they are comparable powerwise and I think M2 cheaper (kinda like Sega did with NAOMI vs Model3). Also It would be better arcade board then TITAN and, again, cheaper (Titan 8-10 chips vs M2 4 chips, excluding memory of course). By the way, is there any data about comparison SH-2, SH-4 CPU vs PowerPC (601, 602, 603 e.c.) performancewise?

  6. The dreamcast didnt fail, we failed the dreamcast.

  7. I think sega burnt too many bridges. The sega cd and especially the 32x harmed the brand massively. The Saturn was a good console but hard to program for. They needed a miracle after all this and never got it.

  8. I completely blame Microsoft and SEGA of America for the Dreamcast’s failure, and that’s a hill I will die on, haha.

  9. It was kind of hilarious watching a video hardware comparison by someone who apparently doesn't even know what Gouraud shading is. That's why the character models in M2 games look smoother, not higher polygon counts.

    Plus I swear it sounds like he's saying "Virtual" instead of "Virtua".

  10. Now we just need Konami to develop a machine to send Sega fans back in time to warn Sega.

  11. I agree with your points, but feel like the main issue would've been "what do they do between 92 and 96" while everyone was getting into 3D and stuff…

    Like I said in another comment thread below the REAL death sentence was the infighting at Sega between US and Japan. If they didn't have multiple competing projects at the same time, managed correctly under 1 company, Sega would still be with us today !


  12. Man you should have called the channel "Video Game Delusia" LOL

  13. Not far into the video… did you know how much those systems costed? THOUSANDS per unit at that time; no way practical for a home console in that day.

  14. Nice little series about how Sega could've survived the console wars. The Saturn was released way too early, i agree, but their arcade and console divisions were still very seperated at that time. Releasing a console just as powerful, but cheaper, would've lead to arcade operators just putting M2's in their cabinets and Sega losing a big chunk of their arcade business (the main reason why SNK made their MVS and AES carts different). Only with the Dreamcast did Sega decide to go "all in", which was too late. This makes an M2 release in 1996 the better bet indeed, in hindsight, and should've been in tandem with their arcades sorta like Dreamcast and Naomi.

    Sega as an arcade developer made many different games that had lot's of successors and follow-ups, less true sequels. In the console market people wanted sequels of their favorite games. Sega had a hard time getting this right when they shifted their console division towards full 3D so fast and unexpectedly. This probably also had a big impact.

  15. I think using polygons for the background was the right way for Sega to go. Back then it was a huge deal and fighters with 2D background looked cheap.

    Also, the main reason Model 2 looks blocky isn't polygon count but the lack of gouraud shading. In model 1 and 2, each facet is shaded to one value across the face, gouraud shading allowed a gradient across a polygon surface and so adjacent facets could be blended into each other to create an illusion of roundness.

  16. For the most part, I prefer the Model 2 due to the consistently higher frame rate.

  17. There are a few key and important differences. The model 2 games are 60fps, but the M2 games are 30fps. There's a big resolution difference too, model 2 was 496*384, but the M2 games look to be 320*240.

  18. The reason M2 looks "rounder" isn't neccessarily higher polygon count but the fact that M2 could do gouraud shading lighting, vanilla Model2 (VF2) didn't, only flat shaded textured lighting. That's why the chars look blocky at times. It is said that later (and more powerful) revisions of Model2 could do real time gouraud shading but I never witnessed that. Too costly to use I guess. It wouldn't surprise me if BattleTryst has a lower poly count. Still, the characters look very solid and beautiful + transparencies are used in some stages, another thing 1994 Model2 couldn't do.

  19. If Sega would have not released the CD or 32X add ons and released a standalone/backward compatible successor to the Genesis in late 1993 known as the Sega Giga Edge(CD console with either 4x 32X's SH2 or TMS34020 for it's processors) and then not released the Saturn and then released the 3DO M2 system for holiday 96 and then a Naomi 2 based Dreamcast in late 2000 with 32 megs of ram and DVD drive it would still be making consoles today.

  20. I'm still not sure about this speculation, I think the technical aspect wasn't as important as we think for the Saturn, the thing that killed the Saturn (IMHO) was the MASSIVE 3rd party support for the Play Station, that and the kind of game both systems were offering, while Sega offered a more arcade based experience Sony was very agressive with action-adventure games with a more "mature" perspective to attract people that weren't into consoles before, and it succeded.
    If everything could be reduced to the graphics the Saturn was more than capable of competing with the PSX, just look at Virtua Fighter 2, Sega Rally, Panzer Dragoon 1 & 2, Virtua Cop, Dead or Alive… I don't even see that huge difference with the 3DO M2, in fact I preffer VF2 and DOA on the Saturn over the fighting game on the M2, same with Virtua Cop; it's true that the Saturn had a rough start with VF1 and Daytona, but in Japan was outselling the PSX until FFVII launched…
    Besides, if Sega had waited until 96 in order to release an M2 based Saturn (or whatever the name) Sony could've had it even easier to get hold of the market, more games, not as different, cheaper machine…
    We have to face it, Sega's death went hand by hand with arcade's death, excepting arcade lovers like us most of the people were looking for other kind of games and Sony was there for them.

  21. It's hard for me to compare the two since I have such a heavy Sega bias, especially for their art direction. Those games you used as examples were my childhood haha

  22. This makes me feel whistful at what could have been. Great video as always! <3

  23. Strange comparison. The years where Saturn was developed and then Black Belt and Katana being developed to replace it don't really coincide with M2's development and then when it was for sale. I just don't think the time frame lined up for M2 to be the successor to Saturn. It's fun to speculate but at the end of the day I'm glad we got the Dreamcast as it was. It was much better hardware than the M2. I don't think it matters much in terms of Sega's success anyway, after the Saturn and 32X they were doomed already no matter what they released.

    Also, the first model 2 games were released in 93. I don't think there were any M2 games until maybe 97? Anyway, I always loved the look of Model 2, the games have a very unique look to them, where the M2 games have kind of a generic look. Also, the Model 2 was designed to run games at 60fps locked and it shows in every single game. The M2 games are mostly sub 30 fps, except for that fighting game.

  24. Wonder if M2 can hold up against the later Model 2 revisions, which had the TGPx4 and the SHARC DSPs that were more capable than the original Model 2.

  25. Hmm, I think I still prefer Virtua Cop to Total Vice. I think it's the way the camera zooms in on the action. It feels more arcade-style if that makes sense.

  26. Thanks for another great video, and happy holidays! If the M2 could have came out in '96, it would have been a great piece of kit. I don't know if not releasing the Saturn and instead holding out to release the M2 in '96 would have been good or bad or if it could have saved Sega from themselves, but I do think it would have been interesting.

  27. Totally disagree, the cheesy gouraud shading hides the fact the mode ploy counts are lower. The stages in VF2 are actually interesting to look at and have dimension with great quality textures. The quality of the bone rigging and animation is also much lower than VF2 and the the fact VF2 is a solid 60fps makes the game look significantly better IMO. That game just looks like battle arena toshinden or some other early 3D fighter not comparable at all to the solid, smooth model 2 arcade experience. Look at their hands, they are like FF7 model poly stumps

  28. The M2 is definitely more powerful than the Model 2, but I personally like Model 2 graphics better, and I think this boils down to Sega's artists. The textures, for example, on the whole look darker and grainier in Konami's games. I was not much of a fan of Konami's early 3D efforts as their arcade games always looked a bit ugly to me compared to other competitors. Hence, I'd love to see Sega's own games actually ported to the hardware for comparison. I'm quite sure the polygonal models could easily be increased in complexity for the M2 hardware (although I've always liked the level of polygonal detail that Model 2 had as I like the blocky, early 3D stuff that isn't overly smooth).

    I know Sega did some work with the M2 hardware, but I can't remember what exactly they worked on or if it ever saw any public exposure. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks for me on this. Oh how sweet it would have been if we had even gotten just a single Sega arcade game on M2 hardware.

  29. I think you have a very strong argument here!

  30. This is a cool comparison and interesting what-if. Of course Sega was always looking to the future and by 96 the Model 3 was outputting stuff that could not have been favourably ported to M2 hardware.

  31. Tbh if amiga came out with hombre everything be different
    They had this back in 93

  32. I can't help but think in the right hands and with a good development cycle, M2 graphics would have gotten so much better than what konami produced. Probably similar to ps2 launch games vs those that came out 5+ years down the road, 50% better probably. It would be nice to know the screen res and fps for all the M2 titles. They all clearly exibit some additional graphical techniques not seen in model 2 titles, but sega's Model 2 titles all ran flawlessly and at high res. I remember thinking Total Vice looked really good back in the day, honestly seemed as good as early ps2 titles. I remember a guy i knew from the arcade even referred to the game when pointing out arcade games were still ahead of home consoles, with the ps2 even in the picture. I gather the arcade release was running on a crt? so long ago. Technical aspect aside, I honestly feel both vf2 saturn and Tekken 3 ps1 look better than Battle Tryst. I think Tobal 2 on ps1 would be a good side by side comparison with it as it probably has the most similar graphical style. Not if you will read this, but have you played die hard trilogy on ps1 the light gun game on there, very similar to Total Vice. I suspect you have played it, you seem to be a avid gamer, but if you haven't, check it out. All the best.

  33. great video! Begs the question, if Sega got this and released it in 1996 would it be competitive against the 1995 released PlayStation

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