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Price cut sends Dreamcast sales through roof

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Sega's Dreamcast appears to be winning buyers, at long last. The ill-fated 128-bit console saw average US weekly sales shoot up 156.5 per cent between 23 July and 30 September, according to market researcher PC Data.

Of course, it can't last, not with PlayStation 2 ready to hit the US console market in a couple of weeks, but it is a sign that Sega's Net-oriented strategy is beginning to pay off.

The rise in sales follows Sega's decision to cut Dreamcast's retail price by $50 and to offer a $150 rebate to any customer who signs up for its SegaNet ISP for two years. Together, price cut and rebate reduce the cost of the console to nil, and it's hard not to see the sales spike deriving from this plan.

SegaNet launched on 7 September, aimed not only at console owners but PC gamers too, again stressing Sega's shift in focus toward the Net and away from games hardware.

From 23 July to 30 September, Sega's share of the US retail and mail order channel hit just under 30 per cent, according to PC Data's numbers. However, Sony wasn't the victim. It's share, exclusively centred on the PlayStation (or PSOne, as it's now called), rose to 49 per cent. The loser was Nintendo, which saw its Nintendo 64 fall to 20.8 per cent of the market.

Still, Nintendo's overall marketshare is way ahead of Sega's, with the N64 taking 36.4 per cent of the market since January, compared to Dreamcast's 16.4 per cent. Sony's PlayStation has 47 per cent. ®

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