Ah yes that project I mentioned. In 2001-2002, Sega and Motorola were developing a miniature version of the Dreamcast’s chipset for use in a mobile phone. For the last few weeks I’ve been looking for the final resting place of this technology. My luck has been mixed and for the moment I’m not going to waste too much print on it. What’s important is the end goal.
The DreamPass is that technology inside an SD sized card that goes into any device with an SD slot. This enables the device to play games developed for the Naomi/Dreamcast platform. Not only could this include the original Dreamcast library, but would be geared toward the homebrew and independent developers already working with the DC platform. As we’ve seen before with arbitrary size and tech limitations like the ones imposed by Microsoft with Live Arcade, limitation only encourages creativity. Games like Castle Crashers show that a game with the most basic graphics can be a huge hit. The other benefit is that it would be compatible with any device with an SD slot. Any netbook and even conceivably a camcorder would be capable of games that look as good as PSO or Shenmue.
The other huge limitation faced by Sega with the DC’s initial run was the difficulty in getting everyone online with the right peripherals. Anyone with a laptop or desktop will already likely have a keyboard and mouse, microphone, internet connection and even possibly a USB gamepad. With these common devices, you already have what would have set you back almost four hundred dollars with a Dreamcast at launch. The DreamPass would likely cost $25-50.
Besides the obvious gaming applications, the Dreamcast’s Hitachi SH4 is a Windows CE designed CPU. Much in the way tablets have CPUs made for Android, a chipset must be made for WinCE to run well with it. Assuming a more modern version of CE could be run on it, you could have an instant bare version of Windows for use on a MacBook. Or an iPod or who knows what else. The convenience of being able to make any device with an SD slot a Windows compatible device is a huge benefit.
If you would buy this thing, reply like crazy.