Sega of America, Inc. confirmed today that it is developing a new powerful video game console to be released in North America in 1999. To remain financially responsible in the interim, Sega today eliminated 30 percent of its U.S. workforce. The company will support its mature products in 1998 while it prepares to take the lead in the home console business in 1999 with a platform that will deliver gaming experiences never before possible.

“After evaluating the current industry situation and our plans for a new video game platform, we do not believe that launching this year is in the best interest of our customers, retailers or software partners,” said Bernard Stolar, chief operating officer, Sega of America. “To be fiscally responsible and competitive tomorrow, we have to make some difficult decisions today that will put us on the right path for long-term success.”

Stolar referred to Sega’s new platform as a “super” console emphasizing its advanced technical capabilities, the business opportunities it will offer third party publishers and the revolutionary game play consumers will experience.

Stolar confirmed that Sega has already begun briefing third party software developers on the new platform and is working with retailers to ensure a smooth transition to the next console.

In 1998 Sega will support the Sega Saturn in North America with acclaimed arcade and popular character-based games from the company’s in-house software development team — the largest of any video game company worldwide. The Sega Saturn game library reached 300 titles at the beginning of 1998.

Sega is committed to the U.S. market today and for the long term. Sega will deliver revolutionary online gaming through HEAT.Net from SegaSoft and is gaining market share in the PC games category with strong sales of its character and arcade-action titles published by Sega Entertainment, Inc. Sega GameWorks, in partnership with Dreamworks SKG and Universal Studios, Inc., is currently operating five high-tech interactive entertainment destinations in the U.S.

At this time, Sega is not releasing any further details about its next platform.