June 17, 1999


With the launch of the Dreamcast only 3 short months away I thought it was about time to go back to Sega Ozisoft and have a chat about the Australian launch. Who better to have a chat to then the Dreamcast Communications Manager, Stephen O'Leary.

A couple of months ago Sega Ozisoft stated that the Dreamcast would sell for "under $500". Latest indications are that the system will sell for $499. That's not much under $500 is it?
Just 1 dollar! But, and this is a big but, the Dreamcast will come with a built-in modem and a period of Internet access for free!

Why is the price of the system so high in Australia?
To compare the price of the Dreamcast to the Saturn at launch ($799) and the PlayStation at launch ($699), you will see that the Dreamcast is an incredible bargain. The price of most electronic equipment rises over time, while the Dreamcast, as a console, is actually a lot cheaper than its market rivals when they were launched. The added bonus of an in-built modem and free access make the console all the more attractive to consumers.

The Dreamcast is receiving a price drop on June 24th to 19,900 yen (around $250) in Japan. Is this making you reconsider the Australian price point at all?
This is a marketing strategy for Japan, and it doesn't effect the way the Australian and New Zealand pricing is determined. That said, the Dreamcast will be marketed at a very competitive pricepoint. For what you receive (the fastest, most powerful gaming console in the world that is many times more powerful than current PCs), the Dreamcast is an absolute bargain!

How will the introduction of a 10% GST affect the pricing of the system on July 1st 2000?
Yes, we should be able to drop the price of the console at this point or thereabouts.

What prices are we looking at for the games?
Typically $89.95 for games. Some games that come with peripherals may be higher (Get Bass etc). Third party pricing is yet to be finalised though.

How about the prices for the peripherals?
Most of the peripherals will be under the 50 dollar pricepoint, although some like the Steering Wheel, will be a little higher.

Will there be a demo CD and what games will it include?
This is yet to be finalised. I'd expect them to be some of the main launch games (VF3, Sega Rally 2)

Have you shown the system to retailers and what was their reaction to it?
They are overwhelmed by the console and are highly enthusiastic to get involved with Dreamcast in Australia and New Zealand. This reaction was better than expected, and Ozisoft are overjoyed at the response.

Which major retailers will be selling the system in Australia (Target, K-Mart, BIG W and Harvey Norman for instance)?
All of them. They include: Harvey Norman, Target, K-Mart, Dick Smith, Electronic Boutique, Myer, David Jones, Grace Bros., Cyberspace, High Tech World, Videogames Heaven, Big W, Software Today, Harris Scarfe, Retravision, World for Kids, The Games Wizards, The Gamesmen, and all other leading retailers.

Will the Puru Puru pack be available at launch and at what price?
Yes! Under 50 dollars, but the exact pricing is yet to be determined.

When will Sega Rally 2 be released?
At launch.

What speed will the modem be? Will it be 56k as in the United States?
33.6. Japan and the European countries have adopted the 33.6 modem. I have been using it for the past week since I got back from Japan and its more than fast enough for browsing the net!

What pricing structure will be set for the Internet will be included for the Dreamcast system when it is launched?
Yet to be determined. As mentioned, a period of free access will be given with the console.

Are you working with any other major companies in setting up the internet in Australia?
Oooooo! Can't tell at the moment!

How many servers will be in Australia for the online games?
This is also yet to be determined. We are studying the Japanese system and obviously the needs of Australia and New Zealand are different from Japan.

How has Sega-Ozisoft and Infogrames merger gone?
Cool as.

How much money for advertising will we receive from the European budget?
Figures cannot be disclosed to the public, but we have more than enough money to ensure that the Dreamcast launch is a total success!

How long will it be before we start to see advertising in print, cinema and on TV?
Very soon. Print will start within the next month.

Electronics Boutique at Pacific Fair have stated several times that there will only be 20,000 Dreamcast units in the initial shipment. Is this fact or are they making it up?
The first shipment will be more than double that figure!

Can you confirm the colour of the Dreamcast when it is released in Australia? The American one is rumoured to be either black or grey.
White with the Blue logo.

What's happening to Get Bass. It's not on the most recent release schedule and yet the game is one of the better performers in Japan. Surely a game like that will do well in Australia?
Yes, it is coming to Australia and New Zealand. The response we have had from people over this game has been astounding.

Climax Landers has been confirmed for release in America. Will it ever make an appearance in Australia?
Perhaps. I'd say it will, but the game is not on the release schedule as yet.

What changes will be made to PAL versions of Dreamcast games?
Can't say at the moment until we go to Sega UK and ask them directly!

We know that VF3:TB and Sonic Adventure will be fixed for PAL releases. Any other games?
As above. Sorry.

Will The Zip Drive be released here eventually?
This is yet to be determined. I'd say so, but the Dreamcast functions perfectly well without the unit. Email is backed up on the ISP's server, so it isn't deleted when you switch off the machine!

Thank you very much for you time....
David Warner ~ Dreamcast Australia

Well I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did in conducting it. If you have any comments or questions E-mail me at : phantom@winshop.com.au