Peter Moore used to be one of the big head honchos at Sega before moving on to Microsoft. Recently the corporate executive recounted one major change that Sega nearly made before they released the Sega Dreamcast 17 years ago: It wasn't going to have "Sega" in the front of its name.
In an interview with IGN on the IGN Unfiltered podcast, Peter Moore took time to sit down and talk with the gaming outlet about various subject matter, including the launch of the Sega Dreamcast. According to Moore, they almost removed the "Sega" in front of the "Dreamcast" due to the failure of the Sega Saturn, with the exec -- now working as the CCO of Electronic Arts -- stating...
The minimal research I had time to do [indicated] there was still tremendous good will, which there still is today, for the SEGA brand, so I insisted on putting SEGA Dreamcast on the box and calling it the SEGA Dreamcast."
Moore goes on to say that Sega still has good will in the community, but they "burned too many bridges" with the Saturn, which ultimately led to their downfall.
Realistically, it was a copyright issue... the Dreamcast didn't have proper copyright protection and so it was easy to copy and burn games and play them on the Dreamcast without any worries. It was basically Piracy: The Console. Then again, maybe that's part of what Moore meant with the "burning too many bridges"? Because if you can't protect the copyrighted material on your platform and that platform is being used to illegally distribute content, then you can kiss that platform's support goodbye.
But Moore is definitely right about the goodwill that the community still has for Sega, despite all the hiccups, mishaps, blunders and fall-overs that the company has suffered and stumbled upon throughout their years in the software and hardware industry. In fact, gamers still beg, crave and ask Sega about getting back into the hardware console race. They adore Sega.
Furthermore, there were plans by some independent enthusiasts to attempt to revive Sega's old IP using a new mini-console format that would basically work as a Sega emulator you could toss under your TV. Things didn't quite pan out so great, but Sega does have a mini-console that contains up to 80 games, as a way to compete with Nintendo and their mini-NES console.
Right now most people have come to terms with the fact that Sega doesn't have the capital to compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in the hardware race anymore. They barely compete in the software arena, with mostly JRPGs, smaller budget games and Sonic titles holding them over. They also have a fairly consistent output of RTS games under Creative Assembly. But the Sega of old? That beastly 16-bit competitor that gave Nintendo a run for their money? Yeah... I don't think that Sega is coming back.
As for the Dreamcast... I don't think it would have changed much having "Sega" attached to the console or not. There were a number of factors contributing to the console's downfall, but at least Moore was aware enough of the gaming community's feedback to recognize that people loved Sega back then... and still love them now.