Sega's Dreamcast, the first console with a built-in modem, was released in Japan on November 27, 1998. The Dreamcast initially underperformed in Japan; while interest was initially strong, the company was forced to stop taking preorders due to manufacturing issues, and the system underperformed its sales expectations, with reports of disappointed customers returning Dreamcast consoles to buy PlayStation games and peripherals.
In 2014, USgamer's Jeremy Parish wrote, "If the Atari generation introduced video games as a short-lived '70s fad ... and the NES generation established it into an enduring obsession for the young, Sega's Genesis began pushing the medium toward something resembling its contemporary form," expounding that the system served as "the key incubator for modern sports franchises," made "consoles truly international" by providing Western third-parties previously put at a disadvantage by Nintendo's restrictive licensing policies with a more profitable alternative, created "an online subscription service" that foreshadowed "PlayStation Plus more than 15 years early" with the Sega Channel, and "played a key role in ensuring the vitality and future of the games industry by breaking Nintendo's near-monopolistic hold on the U.S. and awakening the U.K. to the merits of television gaming."[180]
Designed by an R&D team supervised by Hideki Sato and Masami Ishikawa, the hardware was adapted from Sega's System 16 arcade board, centered on a Motorola 68000 processor as the CPU, a Zilog Z80 as a sound controller, and a video system supporting hardware sprites, tiles, and scrolling. The system plays a library of more than 900 games created by Sega and a wide array of third-party publishers and delivered on ROM-based cartridges. The Genesis has benefited from several add-ons, including a Power Base Converter to play Master System games, as well as multiple first and third party licensed variations of the console. Sega created two network services to support the Genesis: Sega Meganet and Sega Channel.
The Odyssey initially sold about 100,000 units,[22] making it moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, canceled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, and a third game—Smash. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey did with no board game pieces or extra cartridges. In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing exactly the same games. Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles playing only the games that came with the console. These video game consoles were often just called video games because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari, Magnavox, and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games.