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As the successor of the Dreamcast, it can play all Dreamcast games.
Sega officially revealed the Pluto at E3 2005. However, only tech demos were shown until the next year's event, where games were shown for the first time.
The Pluto launched on November 11, 2006 in America and Japan, and on the 17th in Europe. The system was available with either 512 MB or 20 GB of internal memory, and systems started at $300 with 512 MB of internal memory and a controller. Launch titles included Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and various sports games. Sonic the Hedgehog was planned to be a launch title, but was delayed for quality reasons.
2007 was a harsh year for the Pluto. Past hits such as Virtua Fighter and Virtua Tennis failed to leave much of a mark. Meanwhile, what was supposed to be the star of the Pluto's launch, Sonic the Hedgehog, was repeatedly delayed until June. When it finally did come out, it was a critical disappointment, and sold much worse than expected. Meanwhile, fewer titles were Sega-exclusive than last generation, including Ninja Gaiden Black.
The Pluto was further hurt by the low price and high availability of last-generation consoles, including its predecessor the Dreamcast, as well as the Revolution's strong first year. By the end of 2007, the Pluto had only sold about 6 million units. Even a minor price cut, including the introduction of a new sku, was not enough to help the ailing machine.
2008 was not much better. Although games like Sega Superstar Tennis and Valkyria Chronicles helped the system define itself, they were minor compared to Revolution games such as Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart X. The release of Metal Gear Solid 4 in June finally gave the Pluto a killer app, but by this point, the Revolution had several.
The turning point came in the fall. A major $80 price drop was announced for the Pluto, breathing new life into an ailing console. Combined with a holiday lineup that included the exclusive Sega Superstars Smackdown: The Skirmish and a variety of third party games, the Pluto was finally able to sind its place in the market. However, by the end of 2008, the Revolution had outsold the Pluto by close to 20 million consoles. Despite the best efforts of Sega, the Pluto would never be able to come close to catching up with the Revolution.
Settling for Second
2009 was the first truly good year for the Pluto. For one thing, Sega's exclusive partnership with Platinum Games began to bear fruit, including MadWorld and Bayonetta, games that gave the Pluto an advantage in the Action genre. For another, Nintendo's flow of major releases subsided somewhat. Furthermore, Sega games like Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games and Yakuza 3 were hits in their own right.
2010 was dominated by a strong showing from the Revolution, which had a number of major releases this year. However, thanks to ganes like Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, Shining Sun: Dark Dawn, and two Sonic platformers, the Pluto thrived in its own right.
Eager to fix their mistakes from the Pluto's launch, Sega began reducing Pluto-support by early 2011. However, support for the system continued. Major games of 2011 included Rodea the Sky Soldier, Sonic at the 2012 Olympic Games, and Sonic Generations, in addition to third party games.
The Pluto's only major game from Sega in 2012 was Sonic Tennis Open and the Western Release of Yakuza Dead Souls.
Most models of the Pluto can only be stood horizontally; however, a few versions can also be stood vertically. The system comes with a wireless controller that plugs into the main unit. The disc drive only accepts Dreamcast GD-ROMs and proprietary format DVD discs. Thus, the Pluto can not play most movies or music discs.
The specifications of the Pluto are very similar to those of the Revolution. The CPU clocks in at slightly over 2,000 MHz, the GPU clocks in at about 350 MHz, and the system has 256 MB of RAM. The optical discs hold up to 4.7 GB of data, although a dual layer disc can hold up to 8.5 GB. Up to four controllers can connect to the system at a time, and the system's memory can be expanded through SD Cards. Video can be displayed in 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, and 720p.
The Pluto's primary purpose is playing games, but it has many more non-gaming features than its predecessors. Photos can be viewed on the system, applications can be downloaded to view movies, and web browsing is available. However, these services require a SegaNet account, which in turn requires a monthly or annual fee.
As of the end of 2011, the Pluto is roughly in line with its predecessors' sales, with a total of 41 million systems sold worldwide, including 7 million in Japan and 20 million in America. However, these numbers pale in comparison to its competitor, the Revolution, which has sold nearly twice as many units.
List of Best-Selling Games
The following is a list of million-seller games on the Pluto. Note that the list may be incomplete or include out of date information.
- Assassin's Creed - 5 million
- Assassin's Creed II - 5 million
- Metal Gear Solid 4 - 5 million
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - 4 million
- Batman: Arkham City - 4 million
- Sega Superstars Smackdown: The Skirmish - 4 million
- Sonic at the Olympic Games - 4 million
- Sonic Unleashed - 4 million
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations - 3 million
- Batman: Arkham Asylum - 3 million
- Resident Evil 5 - 3 million
- Sega Superstars Tennis - 3 million
- Sonic Colors - 3 million
- Sonic the Hedgehog - 3 million
- Bayonetta - 2 million
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - 2 million
- Need for Speed: Shift - 2 million
- NBA 2K10 - 2 million
- NBA 2K11 - 2 million
- NBA 2K12 - 2 million
- Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing - 2 million
- Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games - 2 million
- Sonic Generations - 2 million
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - 2 million
- Street Fighter IV - 2 million
- Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz - 2 million
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - 1 million
- Devil May Cry 4 - 1 million
- Epic Mickey - 1 million
- FIFA 08 - 1 million
- FIFA 09 - 1 million
- FIFA 10 - 1 million
- FIFA 11 - 1 million
- FIFA 12 - 1 million
- FIFA 13 - 1 million
- Final Fantasy XIII - 1 million
- Guitar Hero - 1 million
- Guitar Hero 2 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 08 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 09 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 10 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 11 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 12 - 1 million
- Madden NFL 13 - 1 million
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - 1 million
- Mortal Kombat - 1 million
- Prototype - 1 million
- Tekken 6 - 1 million
- Sonic at the 2012 Olympic Games - 1 million
- Soul Calibur IV - 1 million
- Valkyria Chronicles - 1 million
- Virtua Fighter 5 - 1 million
- Virtua Tennis 3 - 1 million
- Yakuza 3 - 1 million
- Yazuka 4 - 1 millon
Note that some models were introduced or discontinued later in the Pluto's life.
- November 11, 2006 - $300 for the 512 MB model, $400 for the 20 GB model
- August 2007 - $280 for the 512 MB model, $350 for the 20 GB model, $400 for the 60 GB model
- September 2008 - $200 for the 512 MB model, $300 for the 60 GB model, $400 for the 120 GB model
- June 2010 - $150 for the 4 GB model, $250 for the 60 GB model, $300 for the 120 GB model, $400 for the 250 GB bundle with one of several games
- October 2012 - $130 for the 4 GB model, $200 for the 60 GB model, $250 for the 120 GB model
Note that these configurations were standard prices of systems sold with a controller but without any games. The only exception was the 250 GB model, which was only available in bundles with one of several Sega or third party games, including Bayonetta, Yazuka, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, and Assassin’s Creed 2.
The Pluto has received somewhat mixed reviews. On one hand, its hardware was praised at launch for being easy to develop for and being reasonably powerful for its starting price. However, the launch lineup was panned, in stark contrast to the Dreamcast launch of 2000. Furthermore, the online system, though deemed superior to Nintendo's, has been criticized for its relatively high prices in some countries.