Everyone remembers the original Xbox as the first game console to feature online connectivity with its built-in modem. However, that’s not entirely true- Dreamcast already had this feature in 1998. It’s a shame then, that Sega stopped making consoles because who knows what other innovations they might have come up with in future generations.
Can you still go online on a Dreamcast? Only if you have the official broadband adapter, as the original Dreamcast modem is designed for dial-up internet. You can also jerry-rig a USB modem to a Raspberry Pi that’s running “DreamPi” software to get your Dreamcast online.
Can You Still Go Online On A Dreamcast?
Yes, it is possible but not very practical. First off, you’re going to need a broadband adapter because modern ISPs don’t do dial-up anymore. Then, you’ll find out that your console from 1998 doesn’t support broadband internet.
So you’ll need to source one of the few original broadband adapters manufactured by Sega that currently fetch over $150 on the used market. Sega made a 10Mbps version, and a 100Mbps version- the latter costs a fortune these days. If you can’t get one of these broadband adapters, you’ll have to come up with a DIY solution.
Which involves taking a Raspberry Pi and hooking it up with a USB modem, then running custom software called DreamPi on it. You will not get broadband speeds, and it will take some initial configuring. But it will work, and you can use Wi-Fi to go online.
After you’ve figured out a way to make your Dreamcast hardware go online, you’ll need a keyboard and mouse. Because trying to type stuff with the single analog stick on your giant Dreamcast controller via a virtual keyboard is really frustrating. But wait- USB keyboards won’t work on the Dreamcast; it has proprietary ports.
Now, you have to source an original Dreamcast keyboard + mouse combo which costs upwards of $100 these days. It’s just a cheap 3rd party keyboard + mouse combo from the late 1990s/ early 2000s that Sega rebranded. But they stopped making these nearly 2 decades ago, so you’ll have to pay a high price on the used market.
However, there are still Dreamcast communities that come online via exclusive forums. You can access these with your Dreamcast and schedule matches of Quake 3 Arena, or talk about private Phantasy Star Online servers. Talking of Phantasy Star Online, a few people still log in regularly (and you can crossplay with GameCube/ Xbox users).
Can You Still Play Online Games On Dreamcast?
Dreamcast had a very small number of games that supported SegaNet. And most of these were designed for the original 33.6/ 56 Kbps dial-up modem. A handful of games were patched to support broadband connectivity- POD: Speedzone, Bomberman Online, Outrigger, etc.
These days, only Quake 3 and Phantasy Star Online are still played by a few dozen Dreamcast owners. You can even find private servers for Phantasy Star Online if you do a bit of searching around. But don’t expect a resurgence in Dreamcast online gaming anytime soon.
How Do I Connect My Dreamcast To The Internet?
As I explained earlier, you will need a broadband adapter made by Sega which can be quite expensive. Alternatively, you can source a Raspberry Pi and combine it with a USB modem. Then, run custom software called DreamPi that lets your Dreamcast connect to the internet.
Although optional, I also recommend grabbing a Dreamcast mouse and keyboard as they will greatly enhance your online experience. Typing in stuff with the controller and a virtual keyboard is very hard. If original Dreamcast keyboards are too expensive, try looking for a Dreamcast to USB adapter.
Does The Dreamcast Still Get Games?
As the console itself was discontinued over 2 decades ago, Sega and all relevant 3rd parties stopped making games for Dreamcast. However, the retro gaming community and Sega fans still release homebrew software for Dreamcast. Some games are created through crowdfunded campaigns, like Arcade Racing Legends which raised $68K on Kickstarter.
SLAVE is another new Dreamcast game, but only 480 physical copies were made. Xeno Crisis is a 2019 shooter game that was ported to various retro consoles, in addition to being released on modern consoles like Xbox One and PS4. And Dreamcast is one of those retro consoles on which you can play Xeno Crisis (both digital and physical copies are available).
Can Dreamcast Run GTA 3?
There were plans for a Dreamcast GTA 3 port, but it was canceled after Sega quit the console business. Right now, there are no plans for a fan port of GTA 3 to Dreamcast. However, you can still play GTA 2 on Dreamcast which is on par with the PC version.
When Was The Dreamcast Discontinued?
Sega officially discontinued manufacturing and support for Dreamcast in 2001. They also resigned from the console manufacturing business and became a 3rd party video game developer. Dreamcast was canceled just 3 years after its release and was the first 6th generation console.
Sega’s Dreamcast was the first console with a built-in modem, and SegaNet was the precursor to Xbox Live. Sega even planned to turn it into a pseudo-PC by partnering with Microsoft. In fact, Dreamcast runs a modified version of Windows CE and uses DirectX.
We never got to see Dreamcast’s full potential. However, games are still being made today for this console that’s over two decades old. And if you have the right equipment, you can still go online to play a match of Quake 3 Arena.