It is quite a hot debatable topic, why the Sega Dreamcast died so quickly and resolutely as far as commercial publishers are concerned. One of the popular reasons is, quite simply, piracy. Sega made some effort at keeping the Dreamcast unique and hard to break into but crackers and hackers will do as they do and it didn’t take long before they had custom code running on Sega’s, then, new console- Sega’s Swan Song console.
Some precautions that Sega, obviously, felt were good enough included using a proprietary format for the discs that Dreamcast games came on. These discs, called GD-Rom’s, used special technology to fit about a gig on a CD (almost twice what a normal CD holds) which was great for games, it cut down on having to produce multiple disc games. Sega left open support for music CD’s and did not include any real anti piracy methods outside of the disc format. It didn’t take long for savvy, illegal minded, gamers to figure out how to get the Dreamcast to boot non GD-Rom discs. This was the beginning of the end for the final console to carry the name, Sega.
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Eventually, homebrew began finding its way onto the Dreamcast thanks to the hacks and cracks that others provided and we still see games released for it today. Sega had an uphill battle from the early days of their failed system and without the proper technology, they couldn’t combat the ingenuity of hackers enough to guarantee third parties a high enough sales/profit margin to stay afloat.
What does all of that have to do with Android? Why is this article on a portable gaming website (this one is pretty easy, Android is primarily a portable OS). Simple. Android is quickly becoming the Dreamcast 2 as far as how companies view it, we are losing great games and developers due to illegal acquisition of the games that are made available.
Android is quite similar to Dreamcast in many ways, except that where Sega tried to combat piracy, Google has opened Android up to it- it is called “sideloading” and is popular for developers to test their apps on actual hardware (Android is quite diverse in hardware). Users that are willing to commit crimes to save a buck, or so, per game can simply click a few menu options and they are all set to game illegally on Android- much easier than Dreamcast ever was (the process of burning CD’s could be tedious as they would sometimes, just, not work).
Google needs to do something about this problem now, before we see Android end as an OS, as a platform and we are left with iOS and Windows Phone for our gaming choices. While iOS is not perfect, Apple has certainly paid special attention to solving piracy problems with their OS that Google could take to heart.