128-bit game system tops 500K after two weeks

Proving that it’s still a major competitor in the vidgame console wars, Sega said Thursday that its latest Dreamcast system has topped the 500,000 mark two weeks after its bow.

Sega has sold 514,000 units of the 128-bit Dreamcast system since its much-hyped Sept. 9 release, easily besting bows by Sony’s PlayStation in 1995 and Nintendo’s N64 in 1996.

PlayStation reached the half million mark in four months, while N64 hit that number after two months, according to New York-based research outfit NPD Group.

Topping projections

The figures even top Sega’s initial projections of 400,000 units sold in the system’s first month of retail availability.

Dreamcast is seen to be Sega’s last chance to rise from the No. 3 spot in the competitive vidgame console market after its Sega Saturn flopped. It currently controls a little over 1% of the field.

Although Dreamcast has been capturing more than 60% of all new console sales, according to NPD, Sony and Nintendo continue to experience strong sales. The two market leaders have slashed prices on their systems to battle Dreamcast.

In the U.S., PlayStation has around 60% of the vidgame console market, with the rest going to N64. As of June, Sony had shipped more than 58 million PlayStation units since 1994.

Boost to vidgame sales

Dreamcast is expected to help boost already resurging vidgame sales, projected to top $7 billion this year. The industry collected $6.3 billion last year.

New machines from PlayStation and Nintendo are expected to flood the market beginning next year, strongly cutting into Dreamcast’s increased market share, analysts say.

“Consumer demand for Sega Dreamcast is continuing at a record pace,” said Sega of America senior VP of sales Chris Gilbert. “All of our retailers are reporting huge sales for the system, and we are working very closely with them to meet the massive demand we are anticipating for the holiday season.”

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