The 21st century is the current century of the Anno Domini era or Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It began on January 1, 2001, will end on December 31, 2100, it is the first century of the 3rd millennium. It is distinct from the century known as the 2000s which began on January 1, 2000 and will end on December 31, 2099; the first years of the 21st century have thus far been marked by the rise of a global economy and Third World consumerism, mistrust in government, deepening global concern over terrorism and an increase in the power of private enterprise. The Arab Spring of the early 2010s led to mixed outcomes in the Arab world; the Third Industrial Revolution which began around the 1980s continues into the present, is expected to transition into Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution by as early as 2030. Millennials and Generation Z come of rise to prominence in this century. In 2016, the United Kingdom decided causing Brexit. Advances in technology such as ultrasound, prenatal genetic testing and genetic engineering is changing the demographics and has the potential to change the genetic makeup of the human population.
Because of sex selective abortion, fewer girls have been born in the 21st century compared to in past centuries because of son preference in East and South Asia. In 2014 only 47 percent of Indian births were of girls; this has led to an increase in bachelors in countries such as India. The first genetically modified children were born in November 2018 in China, beginning a new biological era for the human species and raising great controversy. Anxiety and depression rates are rising in many other parts of the world. However, suicide rates have fallen in Europe and most of the rest of the world so far this century, declining 29% globally between 2000 and 2018, despite rising 18% in the United States in the same period; the decline in suicide has been most notable among Chinese and Indian women, the elderly and middle-aged Russian men. The entire written works of mankind, from the beginning of recorded history to 2003, in all known languages, is estimated to be at five exabytes of data. Since 2003, with the birth of social media and "user-generated content", the same amount of data is created every two days.
The advancement of the sum total of human knowledge and information continues to grow at an exponential rate. Telecommunications in the early 21st century are much more advanced and universal than they were in the late 20th century. Only a few percent of the world's population were Internet users and cellular phone owners in the late 1990s. In the 2010s, artificial intelligence in the form of deep learning and machine learning became more prevalent, is prominently used in Gmail and Google's search engine, as well as in banking, the military and other niches. In 2017, 14% of the world's population still lacked access to electricity. In 2001, Dennis Tito became the first space tourist. Entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson are working towards commercial space exploration and tourism, China and India have made substantial strides in their space program. On January 3, 2019, China landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, being the first to do so. War and most kinds of crime and violence have declined compared to the 20th century.
Malnourishment and poverty are still widespread globally, but fewer people live in the most extreme forms of poverty, relative to recorded history. In 1990 one-in-four people were malnourished, nearly 36% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. If current trends hold, the United Nations projects the eradication of famine and extreme poverty by the end of this century; the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal draws international attention to the possible negative effects of social media on influencing citizen's views in regards to the 2016 United States presidential election. The world population was about 6.1 billion at the start of the 21st century and reached 7.7 billion by January 2019. It is estimated to reach about 8.6 billion by the year 2030, 9.8 billion by the year 2050. According to the United Nations World Urbanization prospects, 60% of the world's human population are projected to live in megacities and megalopolises by 2030, 70% by 2050, 90% by 2080. By 2040, more than 5 times the current global gross domestic product are expected to be invested in urban infrastructure and its use.
Life expectancy is increasing. A baby born in 2016 can on average expect to live 72 years. Ten million Britons are expected to live to 100 or older; however climate change remains an serious concern. Economically and politically the United States and Western Europe were dominant at the beginning of the century. In terms of purchasing power parity India's economy became larger than that of Japan around the year 2011; the ongoing impact of technological unemployment due to automation and computerization on job employment is massive: the rat
Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first to visit and hold papal mass in the Arabian Peninsula, the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century. Born in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's provincial superior of the Society of Jesus, he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. He led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina; the administrations of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner considered him a political rival. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March, he chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, international visibility as Pope, concern for the poor and commitment to interfaith dialogue.
He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by previous popes. He maintains that the Church should be more welcoming, he does not support Marxism, or Marxist versions of liberation theology. Francis maintains the traditional views of the Church regarding abortion, ordination of women, clerical celibacy, he opposes consumerism and overdevelopment, supports taking action on climate change, a focus of his papacy with the promulgation of Laudato si'. In international diplomacy, he helped to restore full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba and supported the cause of refugees during the European migrant crisis. Since 2016, Francis has faced open criticism from theological conservatives, on the question of admitting civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion with the publication of Amoris laetitia, on the question of the alleged cover-up of clergy sexual abuse.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on 17 December 1936 in a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. He was the eldest of five children of Regina María Sívori. Mario Bergoglio was an Italian immigrant accountant born in Portacomaro in Italy's Piedmont region. Regina Sívori was a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian origin. Mario José's family left Italy in 1929 to escape the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. According to María Elena Bergoglio, the Pope's only living sibling, they did not emigrate for economic reasons, his other siblings were Oscar Adrián and Marta Regina. Two great-nephews and Joseph, died in a traffic collision. In the sixth grade, Bergoglio attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, he attended the technical secondary school Escuela Técnica Industrial N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen, named after a past President of Argentina, graduated with a chemical technician's diploma. He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory where his boss was Esther Ballestrino.
Before joining the Jesuits, Bergoglio worked as a bar bouncer and as a janitor sweeping floors, he ran tests in a chemical laboratory. In the only known health crisis of his youth, at the age of 21 he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts, he had part of a lung excised shortly afterwards. Bergoglio has been a lifelong supporter of San Lorenzo de Almagro football club. Bergoglio is a fan of the films of Tita Merello and tango dancing, with a fondness for the traditional music of Argentina and Uruguay known as the milonga. Bergoglio found his vocation to the priesthood, he passed by a church to go to confession, was inspired by the priest. Bergoglio studied at the archdiocesan seminary, Inmaculada Concepción Seminary, in Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires, after three years, entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on 11 March 1958. Bergoglio has said that, as a young seminarian, he had a crush on a girl he met and doubted about continuing the religious career; as a Jesuit novice he studied humanities in Chile.
At the conclusion of his novitiate in the Society of Jesus, Bergoglio became a Jesuit on 12 March 1960, when he made the religious profession of the initial, perpetual vows of poverty and obedience of a member of the order. In 1960, Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo de San José in San Miguel, Buenos Aires Province, he taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, a high school in Santa Fe, from 1964 to 1965. In 1966, he taught the same courses at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano, he attended a seminary in San Miguel. He became a professor of theology. Bergoglio completed his final stage of spiritual training as a Jesuit, tertianship, at Alcalá de Henares, Spain, he took the final fourth vow
Transit of Earth from Mars
A transit of Earth across the Sun as seen from Mars takes place when the planet Earth passes directly between the Sun and Mars, obscuring a small part of the Sun's disc for an observer on Mars. During a transit, Earth would be visible from Mars as a small black disc moving across the face of the Sun, they occur every 26, 79 and 100 years, every 1,000 years or so there is an extra 53rd-year transit. Transits of Earth from Mars occur in pairs, with one following the other after 79 years; the transits follow a 284-year cycle, occurring at intervals of 100.5, 79, 25.5, 79 years. Transits occurring when Mars is at its ascending node are in May, those at descending node happen in November; this cycle corresponds closely to 151 Mars orbits, 284 Earth orbits, 133 synodic periods, is analogous to the cycle of transits of Venus from Earth, which follow a cycle of 243 years. There are four such active series, containing from 8 to 25 transits. A new one is set to begin in 2394; the last series ending was in 1211.
No one has seen a transit of Earth from Mars, but the next transit will take place on November 10, 2084. The last such transit took place on May 11, 1984. During the event, the Moon could always be seen in transit, although due to the distance between Earth and Moon, sometimes one body completes the transit before the other begins. A transit of Earth from Mars corresponds to Mars being uniformly illuminated at opposition from Earth, its phase being 180.0° without any defect of illumination. During the 1879 event, this permitted Charles Augustus Young to attempt a careful measurement of the oblateness of Mars, he obtained the value 1/219, or 0.0046. This is close to the modern value of 1/154. Much more better measurements of the oblateness of Mars have been made by using radar from the Earth. Better measurements have been made by using artificial satellites that have been put into orbit around Mars, including Mariner 9, Viking 1, Viking 2, Soviet orbiters, the more recent orbiters that have been sent from the Earth to Mars.
A science fiction short story published in 1971 by Arthur C. Clarke, called "Transit of Earth", depicts a doomed astronaut on Mars observing the transit in 1984; this short story was first published in the January 1971 issue of Playboy magazine. Sometimes Earth only grazes the Sun during a transit. In this case it is possible that in some areas of Mars a full transit can be seen while in other regions there is only a partial transit; the last transit of this type was on 30 April 1211, the next such transit will occur on 27 November 4356. It is possible that a transit of Earth can be seen in some parts of Mars as a partial transit, while in others Earth misses the Sun; such a transit last occurred on 26 October 664, the next transit of this type will occur on 14 December 5934. The simultaneous occurrence of a transit of Venus and a transit of Earth is rare, will next occur in the year 571,471. Astronomical transit Transit of Phobos from Mars Transit of Deimos from Mars Transit of Mercury from Mars Albert Marth, Note on the Transit of the Earth and Moon across the Sun’s Disk as seen from Mars on November 12, 1879, on some kindred Phenomena, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 39, 513–514.
Andrew Crommelin, Observations of Mars, 1904–6, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 64, 520–521 Jean Meeus & Edwin Goffin, Transits of Earth as Seen from Mars, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, 93, 120–123 Charles Augustus Young, Measures of the Polar and Equatoreal Diameters of Mars, made at Princeton, New Jersey, U. S; the Observatory, 3, 471 Meeus, Jean. Transits. Richmond, VA: Willmann-Bell. ISBN 0-943396-25-5. SOLEX Transits of Earth on Mars – Fifteen millennium catalog: 5 000 BC – 10 000 AD JPL HORIZONS System Near miss of the Earth-moon system
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, is referred to as the "Red Planet" because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance, distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys and polar ice caps of Earth; the days and seasons are comparable to those of Earth, because the rotational period as well as the tilt of the rotational axis relative to the ecliptic plane are similar. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and second-highest known mountain in the Solar System, of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System; the smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature. Mars has two moons and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped.
These may be captured asteroids, similar to a Mars trojan. There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life. Future astrobiology missions are planned, including the Mars 2020 and ExoMars rovers. Liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressure, less than 1% of the Earth's, except at the lowest elevations for short periods; the two polar ice caps appear to be made of water. The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters. In November 2016, NASA reported finding a large amount of underground ice in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars; the volume of water detected has been estimated to be equivalent to the volume of water in Lake Superior. Mars can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish coloring, its apparent magnitude reaches −2.94, surpassed only by Jupiter, the Moon, the Sun.
Optical ground-based telescopes are limited to resolving features about 300 kilometers across when Earth and Mars are closest because of Earth's atmosphere. Mars is half the diameter of Earth with a surface area only less than the total area of Earth's dry land. Mars is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth's volume and 11% of Earth's mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth's surface gravity; the red-orange appearance of the Martian surface is caused by rust. It can look like butterscotch. Like Earth, Mars has differentiated into a dense metallic core overlaid by less dense materials. Current models of its interior imply a core with a radius of about 1,794 ± 65 kilometers, consisting of iron and nickel with about 16–17% sulfur; this iron sulfide core is thought to be twice as rich in lighter elements as Earth's. The core is surrounded by a silicate mantle that formed many of the tectonic and volcanic features on the planet, but it appears to be dormant. Besides silicon and oxygen, the most abundant elements in the Martian crust are iron, aluminum and potassium.
The average thickness of the planet's crust is about 50 km, with a maximum thickness of 125 km. Earth's crust averages 40 km. Mars is a terrestrial planet that consists of minerals containing silicon and oxygen and other elements that make up rock; the surface of Mars is composed of tholeiitic basalt, although parts are more silica-rich than typical basalt and may be similar to andesitic rocks on Earth or silica glass. Regions of low albedo suggest concentrations of plagioclase feldspar, with northern low albedo regions displaying higher than normal concentrations of sheet silicates and high-silicon glass. Parts of the southern highlands include detectable amounts of high-calcium pyroxenes. Localized concentrations of hematite and olivine have been found. Much of the surface is covered by finely grained iron oxide dust. Although Mars has no evidence of a structured global magnetic field, observations show that parts of the planet's crust have been magnetized, suggesting that alternating polarity reversals of its dipole field have occurred in the past.
This paleomagnetism of magnetically susceptible minerals is similar to the alternating bands found on Earth's ocean floors. One theory, published in 1999 and re-examined in October 2005, is that these bands suggest plate tectonic activity on Mars four billion years ago, before the planetary dynamo ceased to function and the planet's magnetic field faded, it is thought that, during the Solar System's formation, Mars was created as the result of a stochastic process of run-away accretion of material from the protoplanetary disk that orbited the Sun. Mars has many distinctive chemical features caused by its position in the Solar System. Elements with comparatively low boiling points, such as chlorine and sulphur, are much more common on Mars than Earth. After the formation of the planets, all were subjected to the so-called "Late Heavy Bombardment". About 60% of the surface of Mars shows a record of impacts from that era, whereas much of the remaining surface is underlain by immense impact basins caused by those events.
There is evidence of an enormous impact basin in the northern hemisphere of Mars, spanning 10,600 by 8,500 km, or four times the size of the Moon's South Pole – Aitk
An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer. The term is used in astronomy, but can refer to any situation in which an object in the foreground blocks from view an object in the background. In this general sense, occultation applies to the visual scene observed from low-flying aircraft when foreground objects obscure distant objects dynamically, as the scene changes over time; the term occultation is most used to describe those frequent occasions when the Moon passes in front of a star during the course of its orbital motion around the Earth. Since the Moon, with an angular speed with respect to the stars of 0.55 arcsec/s or 2.7 µrad/s, has a thin atmosphere and stars have an angular diameter of at most 0.057 arcseconds or 0.28 µrad, a star, occulted by the Moon will disappear or reappear in 0.1 seconds or less on the Moon's edge, or limb. Events that take place on the Moon's dark limb are of particular interest to observers, because the lack of glare allows these occultations to more be observed and timed.
The Moon's orbit is inclined to the ecliptic, any stars with an ecliptic latitude of less than about 6.5 degrees may be occulted by it. There are three first magnitude stars that are sufficiently close to the ecliptic that they may be occulted by the Moon and by planets – Regulus and Antares. Occultations of Aldebaran are presently only possible by the Moon, because the planets pass Aldebaran to the north. Neither planetary nor lunar occultations of Pollux are possible. However, in the far future, occultations of Pollux will be possible; some deep-sky objects, such as the Pleiades, can be occulted by the Moon. Within a few kilometres of the edge of an occultation's predicted path, referred to as its northern or southern limit, an observer may see the star intermittently disappearing and reappearing as the irregular limb of the Moon moves past the star, creating what is known as a grazing lunar occultation. From an observational and scientific standpoint, these "grazes" are the most dynamic and interesting of lunar occultations.
The accurate timing of lunar occultations is performed by astronomers. Lunar occultations timed to an accuracy of a few tenths of a second have various scientific uses in refining our knowledge of lunar topography. Photoelectric analysis of lunar occultations have discovered some stars to be close visual or spectroscopic binaries; some angular diameters of stars have been measured by timing of lunar occultations, useful for determining effective temperatures of those stars. Early radio astronomers found occultations of radio sources by the Moon valuable for determining their exact positions, because the long wavelength of radio waves limited the resolution available through direct observation; this was crucial for the unambiguous identification of the radio source 3C 273 with the optical quasar and its jet, a fundamental prerequisite for Maarten Schmidt's discovery of the cosmological nature of quasars. Several times during the year, someone on Earth can observe the Moon occulting a planet. Since planets, unlike stars, have significant angular sizes, lunar occultations of planets will create a narrow zone on Earth from which a partial occultation of the planet will occur.
An observer located within that narrow zone could observe the planet's disk blocked by the moving moon. The same mechanic can be seen with the Sun, where observers on Earth will view it as a solar eclipse. Therefore, a total solar eclipse is the same event as the Moon occulting the Sun. Stars may be occulted by planets. Occultations of bright stars are rare. In 1959, Venus occulted Regulus, the next occultation of a bright star will be in 2044. Uranus's rings were first discovered when that planet occulted a star in 1977. On 3 July 1989, Saturn passed in front of the 5th magnitude star 28 Sagittarii. Pluto occulted stars in 1988, 2002, 2006, allowing its tenuous atmosphere to be studied via atmospheric limb sounding. In rare cases, one planet can pass in front of another. If the nearer planet appears larger than the more distant one, the event is called a mutual planetary occultation. An occultation occurs; these occultations are useful for measuring the size and position of minor planets much more than can be done by any other means.
A cross-sectional profile of the shape of an asteroid can be determined if a number of observers at different, locations observe the occultation. Occultations have been used to estimate the diameter of trans-Neptunian objects such as 2002 TX300, Varuna. In addition, mutual occultation and eclipsing events can occur between a minor planet and its satellite. A large number of these minor-planet moons have been discovered analyzing the photometric light curves of rotating minor planets and detecting a second, superimposed brightness variation, from which an orbital period for the satellite, a secondary-to-primary diameter-ratio can be derived. On 29 May 1983, 2 Pallas occulted the naked-eye bright spectroscopic binary star 1 Vulpeculae along a track across the southern United States, northern Mexico, north parts of the Caribbean. Observations from 130 different locations defined the shape of about two-thirds of the asteroid, detected the secondary companion of the bright binary star.
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process, it is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. Its diameter is about 1.39 million kilometers, or 109 times that of Earth, its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth. It accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. Three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen; the Sun is a G-type main-sequence star based on its spectral class. As such, it is informally and not accurately referred to as a yellow dwarf, it formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. Most of this matter gathered in the center, whereas the rest flattened into an orbiting disk that became the Solar System; the central mass became so hot and dense that it initiated nuclear fusion in its core. It is thought that all stars form by this process.
The Sun is middle-aged. It fuses about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second, converting 4 million tons of matter into energy every second as a result; this energy, which can take between 10,000 and 170,000 years to escape from its core, is the source of the Sun's light and heat. In about 5 billion years, when hydrogen fusion in its core has diminished to the point at which the Sun is no longer in hydrostatic equilibrium, its core will undergo a marked increase in density and temperature while its outer layers expand to become a red giant, it is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of Mercury and Venus, render Earth uninhabitable. After this, it will shed its outer layers and become a dense type of cooling star known as a white dwarf, no longer produce energy by fusion, but still glow and give off heat from its previous fusion; the enormous effect of the Sun on Earth has been recognized since prehistoric times, the Sun has been regarded by some cultures as a deity.
The synodic rotation of Earth and its orbit around the Sun are the basis of solar calendars, one of, the predominant calendar in use today. The English proper name Sun may be related to south. Cognates to English sun appear in other Germanic languages, including Old Frisian sunne, Old Saxon sunna, Middle Dutch sonne, modern Dutch zon, Old High German sunna, modern German Sonne, Old Norse sunna, Gothic sunnō. All Germanic terms for the Sun stem from Proto-Germanic *sunnōn; the Latin name for the Sun, Sol, is not used in everyday English. Sol is used by planetary astronomers to refer to the duration of a solar day on another planet, such as Mars; the related word solar is the usual adjectival term used for the Sun, in terms such as solar day, solar eclipse, Solar System. A mean Earth solar day is 24 hours, whereas a mean Martian'sol' is 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35.244 seconds. The English weekday name Sunday stems from Old English and is a result of a Germanic interpretation of Latin dies solis, itself a translation of the Greek ἡμέρα ἡλίου.
The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star. The Sun has an absolute magnitude of +4.83, estimated to be brighter than about 85% of the stars in the Milky Way, most of which are red dwarfs. The Sun is heavy-element-rich, star; the formation of the Sun may have been triggered by shockwaves from more nearby supernovae. This is suggested by a high abundance of heavy elements in the Solar System, such as gold and uranium, relative to the abundances of these elements in so-called Population II, heavy-element-poor, stars; the heavy elements could most plausibly have been produced by endothermic nuclear reactions during a supernova, or by transmutation through neutron absorption within a massive second-generation star. The Sun is by far the brightest object in the Earth's sky, with an apparent magnitude of −26.74. This is about 13 billion times brighter than the next brightest star, which has an apparent magnitude of −1.46. The mean distance of the Sun's center to Earth's center is 1 astronomical unit, though the distance varies as Earth moves from perihelion in January to aphelion in July.
At this average distance, light travels from the Sun's horizon to Earth's horizon in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds, while light from the closest points of the Sun and Earth takes about two seconds less. The energy of this sunlight supports all life on Earth by photosynthesis, drives Earth's climate and weather; the Sun does not have a definite boundary, but its density decreases exponentially with increasing height above the photosphere. For the purpose of measurement, the Sun's radius is considered to be the distance from its center to the edge of the photosphere, the apparent visible surface of the Sun. By this measure, the Sun is a near-perfect sphere with an oblateness estimated at about 9 millionths, which means that its polar diameter differs from its equatorial diameter by only 10 kilometres; the tidal effect of the planets is weak and does not affect the shape of the Sun. The Sun rotates faster at its equator than at its poles; this differential rotation is caused by convective motion
The Dreamcast is a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998 in Japan, September 9, 1999 in North America, October 14, 1999 in Europe. It was the first in the sixth generation of video game consoles, preceding Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox; the Dreamcast was Sega's final home console, marking the end of the company's 18 years in the console market. In contrast to the expensive hardware of the unsuccessful Sega Saturn, the Dreamcast was designed to reduce costs with "off-the-shelf" components, including a Hitachi SH-4 CPU and an NEC PowerVR2 GPU. Released in Japan to a subdued reception, the Dreamcast enjoyed a successful U. S. launch backed by a large marketing campaign, but interest in the system declined as Sony built hype for the upcoming PlayStation 2. Sales did not meet Sega's expectations despite several price cuts, the company continued to incur significant financial losses. After a change in leadership, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast on March 31, 2001, withdrawing from the console business and restructuring itself as a third-party publisher.
9.13 million Dreamcast units were sold worldwide. Although the Dreamcast had a short lifespan and limited third-party support, reviewers have considered the console ahead of its time, its library contains many games considered creative and innovative, including Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue, as well as high-quality ports from Sega's NAOMI arcade system board. The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem for Internet support and online play. Released in 1988, the Sega Genesis was Sega's entry into the fourth generation of video game consoles. Selling 30.75 million units worldwide, the Genesis was the most successful console Sega released. The successor to the Genesis, the Sega Saturn, was released in Japan in 1994; the Saturn was a CD-ROM-based console that displayed both 2D and 3D computer graphics, but its complex dual-CPU architecture made it more difficult to program for than its chief competitor, the Sony PlayStation. Although the Saturn debuted before the PlayStation in both Japan and the United States, its surprise U.
S. launch—which came four months earlier than scheduled—was marred by a lack of distribution, which remained a continuing problem for the system. Moreover, Sega's early release was undermined by Sony's simultaneous announcement that the PlayStation would retail for US$299—compared to the Saturn's initial price of $399. Nintendo's long delay in releasing a competing 3D console and the damage done to Sega's reputation by poorly supported add-ons for the Genesis allowed Sony to establish a foothold in the market; the PlayStation was successful in the U. S. in part due to a massive advertising campaign and strong third-party support engendered by Sony's excellent development tools and liberal $10 licensing fee. Sony's success was further aided by a price war in which Sega lowered the price of the Saturn from $399 to $299 and from $299 to $199 in order to match the price of the PlayStation–even though Saturn hardware was more expensive to manufacture and the PlayStation enjoyed a larger software library.
Losses on the Saturn hardware contributed to Sega's financial problems, which saw the company's revenue decline between 1992 and 1995 as part of an industry-wide slowdown. Furthermore, Sega's focus on the Saturn over the Genesis prevented it from capitalizing on the continued strength of the 16-bit market. Due to long-standing disagreements with Sega of Japan, Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske became less interested in his position. On July 16, 1996, Sega announced that Shoichiro Irimajiri had been appointed chairman and CEO of Sega of America, while Kalinske would be leaving Sega after September 30 of that year. Sega announced that Sega Enterprises cofounder David Rosen and Sega of Japan CEO Hayao Nakayama had resigned from their positions as chairman and co-chairman of Sega of America, though both men remained with the company. Bernie Stolar, a former executive at Sony Computer Entertainment of America, was named Sega of America's executive vice president in charge of product development and third-party relations.
Stolar did not support the Saturn due to his belief that the hardware was poorly designed and publicly announced at E3 1997 that "The Saturn is not our future." After the launch of the Nintendo 64, sales of the Saturn and Sega's 32-bit software were reduced. As of August 1997, Sony controlled 47 percent of the console market, Nintendo controlled 40 percent, Sega controlled only 12 percent. Neither price cuts nor high-profile games were proving helpful to the Saturn's success. Due to the Saturn's poor performance in North America, Sega of America laid off 60 of its 200 employees in the fall of 1997; as a result of the company's deteriorating financial situation, Nakayama resigned as president of Sega in January 1998 in favor of Irimajiri. Stolar would subsequently accede to become president of Sega of America. Following five years of declining profits, in the fiscal year ending March 31, 1998, Sega suffered its first parent and consolidated financial losses since its 1988 listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Due to a 54.8% decline in consumer product sales, the company reported a consolidated net loss of ¥35.6 billion. Shortly before announcing its financial losses, Sega revealed that it was discontinuing the Saturn in North America, with the goal of preparing for the launch of its successor; this decision left the Western market without Sega games for over one year. Rumors about the upcoming Dreamcast—spread by Sega itself—leaked to the public before the last Saturn games were release