Just when retailers were starting to get excited about the launch of Sega's Internet-enabled Dreamcast gaming platform, local distributor Ozisoft has had to put it back until November 30.
Stephen O'Leary, Ozisoft's communications manager, said the launch date was postponed because of shipping difficulties caused by huge international demand and problems in chip manufacturing as a result of the recent Taiwan earthquake.
Furthermore, the shipment of 50,000 units due to arrive in time for the revised launch date have already been oversubscribed in their allocation to retailers all over Australia. If you want to be selling Dreamcast and you don't have a firm order in, O'Leary suggests that you try your powers of persuasion on Ozisoft's account executives as the next shipment will not be arriving until `mid-January'.
`Dreamcast has been a huge success in the US and in Europe,' O'Leary said. `Unfortunately, Australia is not a major priority market when it comes to global distribution of the product.'
For local retailers, this meant stock previously bound for Australia has now been reallocated to other countries where record sales are being generated.
According to O'Leary, over 500,000 units were sold in the US over the first 10 days while in Europe the figure topped 185,000. The market penetration of the platform was eight times faster than PlayStation upon launch in the US, O'Leary said.
The first 10 days of sales in the US generated $98 million worth of software, hardware and accessories sales, which represented three times more than the next best ever retail launch which was for merchandise based on Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
In Europe, the initial take-up of the product was gauged as being four times faster than that of PlayStation on launch, O'Leary said.
Despite the delays, Ozisoft is convinced that similar results will be achieved in Australia.
`The benchmark has been set,' O'Leary said. `In Australia we have one of the highest rates of Internet connection in the world and it is the built-in modem for Internet gaming and browsing that has enormous potential for Dreamcast locally.'