In the first part of a new interview
with UK newspaper The Guardian, EA Sports head and former president and COO of Sega of America Peter Moore has revealed that he made the final decision on the company’s exit from the hardware business and abandonment of the Dreamcast.
"Dreamcast was a phenomenal 18 months of pain, heartache, euphoria," recalls Moore in the article. “We thought we had it, but then PlayStation came out, that infamous issue of Newsweek with the Emotion Engine on the cover… and of course, EA didn't publish, which left a big hole, not only in sports but in other genres. We ended up that Christmas period not being able to get to where we needed to be – we weren't far short, we just couldn't get that critical mass…”
"But then it all went pear-shaped in Christmas 2000," admits Moore. "We had a tremendous 18 months. Dreamcast was on fire – we really thought that we could do it. But then we had a target from Japan that said – and I can't remember the exact figures – but we had to make N hundreds of millions of dollars by the holiday season and shift N millions of units of hardware, otherwise we just couldn't sustain the business."
"So on January 31 2001 we said Sega is leaving hardware – somehow I got to make that call, not the Japanese. I had to fire a lot of people, it was not a pleasant day."
“We were selling 50,000 units a day, then 60,000, then 100,000, but it was just not going to be enough to get the critical mass to take on the launch of PS2. It was a big stakes game. Sega had the option of pouring in more money and going bankrupt, and they decided they wanted to live to fight another day. So we licked our wounds, ate some humble pie, and went to Sony and Nintendo to ask for dev kits.”
After leaving Sega of America, Moore was courted by Microsoft in 2003 to help oversee the original Xbox format and the launch of the Xbox 360. Citing a desire to return to the San Francisco Bay area with his family, Moore left Microsoft to join Electronic Arts
in July of last year.