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!