December 27, 1996

SEGA SLASHES ANNUAL PROFIT FORCAST

Japanese game maker Sega Enterprises Ltd. slashed its annual profits forecast Friday due to problems with accumulated supplies of outdated gameplayers and losses at its U.S. subsidiary. Sega said it would swallow a substantial special loss in the current business year, which ends in March, to tackle the woes at U.S. unit Sega of America and to dispose of worldwide inventories of old-style 16-bit game players.

As a result of the anticipated $200 million special loss, the firm cut its forecast for net parent profits for 1996/97 by around two-thirds to $46.1 million from a November forecast of $139 million. It also cut its forecast for group profit in the same period by almost half, to $46 million from the previously forecast $86.9 million.

“Now that we know our sales in the Christmas shopping season, we will wipe out worldwide inventories of 16-bit machine-related products, worth about $60.8 million,” Sega said in a statement. The focus of the home videogame market is rapidly shifting from 16-bit players to the new-generation 32-bit machines.

Disposal of inventories is expected to hurt the earnings of Sega of America, which holds about $26 million worth of the $60.8 million in inventories targeted for disposal, Sega managing director Shunichi Nakamura told a news conference. Other unwanted inventories are in Europe and Japan. Sega said it would either sell the unwanted products at a discount or scrap them.

The U.S. unit is already suffering accumulated losses of $215.5 million and Sega will use the extraordinary loss to erase the losses, Nakamura said. “By erasing the unit’s losses, we can get rid of obstacles in our Sega Saturn strategies,” Nakamura said.


December 24, 1996

SEGA TO EXTEND 3 GAME PACK-IN DEAL

Sega of America has decided that the 3 game pack-in deal, that has been very successful this holiday season, will be extended from December 31, 1996 to March 31, 1997.


December 23, 1996

DRIVERS MEGAMiX

If you look at the read_me.doc file in FIGHTERS MEGAMiX, you will notice that “Drivers MegaMix” is mentioned in the file. The rest of the document is in Japanese so it is unreadable by myself, so I do NOT know if this game is for real or if it was only mentioned as a possibility. I will try to get more information on this as soon as possible.

In other Saturn news, it appears that Sega has decided on having a cart upgrade for a Saturn VF3 that will cost around the same price as a normal 3rd party N64 game for the Cart and VF3 together. It will also work for other games like Super Car. For more information on this, check out Dustin’s Saturn Page.


December 20, 1996

MORE FIGHTER’S MEGAMiX INFORMATION

Here is some more information on FIGHTER’S MEGAMiX from Eric John Cruz: Mahler has a new look. He can now easily be differentiated from B.M. There are no uneven stages in FMM. Unlike what was previously reported by some mags. Wolf’s stage now has a cage. Uncaged stages has no ring outs. JANET (VC2) has most of Aoi’s moves.

One secret in the options plus will enable you to choose “Training Enemy”. If you are using FV engine, you can choose your training partner from the VF gang and some secret chars (eg Bark, Bean, etc) If you are using the VF engine, you can choose from the FV gang and Janet, Rentahero, etc (the ones with armor)

You can get the choose “Training Enemy” if you set around 650 OK marks in the training mode. Another secret in the options plus is the “Hyper Mode”.


December 19, 1996

MEGAMiX IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR IMPORT

FIGHTERS MEGAMiX has been released in Japan and is now available for import. Here is some information given to me by Eric John Cruz. (I don’t get my copy till tomorrow – when I’ll snappy up more pics of MEGAMiX than anyone will want to look at)

There are 32 characters in all. From VF: Akira, Pai, Sarah, Jacky, Kage, Lion, Wolf, Jeffry, Lau, Shun, and Dural. From Fighting Vipers: Honey, Grace, Jane, Mahler, B.M., Sanman, Tokio, Raxel, Picky, Bahn and Kumachan. The Secret Characters: Kids Akira (VF Kids) Kids Sarah (VF Kids), Bean (Sonic the Fighters), Bark (Sonic the fighters), Janet (VC2), Deku, Hornet, Ura Bahn (New), Shiba and Rentahero.

The game initially uses the Fighting Vipers engine, but the VF mode is selectable later. All VF characters retain their VF2 costumes (not the VF3 ones) Only the FV characters and some secret chars. have armors. VF chars have all the VF3 moves (about 95%), FV characters have lots of new moves too. Initially, there are 4 courses to take. You have to fight 6 chars, [Ben the boss. If you beat the course, the secret character that you beat is now selectable. Here’s a list of the first 4 courses:

 

Novice Trial – Tokio, Pai, Picky, Shun, Grace and Lion. Boss: School Girl HoneyVirtua Fighters – Lau, Sarah, Jeffry, Kage, Jacky, Wolf Boss: Kids Akira Note: If you beat Kids Akira, Kids Sarah becomes selectable as well

Fighting Vipers – Grace, Picky, Tokio, Sanman, Raxel, Honey Boss: Ura Bahn

Girls: Honey, Pai, Grace, Sarah, Jane, Dural Boss: Janet

After Beating the 4 courses, another 4 courses becomes selectable. Here’s a list of those 4.

Muscle: Bahn, Jeffry, Jane, Wolf, Mahler and Akira Boss: Bark Note: If you beat Bark, Bean becomes Selectable as well

Smart Guys: Jacky, Tokio, Lion, Raxel, Kage, Akira Boss: Rentahero

Dirty Fighters: Sanman, Lau, Jane, Akira, Mahler and Dural Boss: Deku

Bosses: Drual, B.M., Ura Bahn, Janet, Rentahero, Kids Akira Boss: Shiba

After beating all 8 courses, another extra course becomes selectable. Secrets: Kumachan, Bark, School girl Honey, Deku, Bean, Kids Sarah Boss: Hornet

There’s also 7 secrets (the ones with ??????????) in the options menu. The last two are Portraits and Book Keep.

RE AND RE 2 FOR SATURN

As reported by Saturnworld, Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 are will be arriving on the Saturn in the next nine months. Resident Evil is nearing completion, and its sequel will begin conversion shortly after.


December 18, 1996

MEGAMiX SCHEDULED FOR FIRST QUARTER RELEASE

As reported by Saturnworld, Sega has stated that FIGHTER’S MEGAMiX should ship during the first quarter of 1997 in the US. In other release news, Gunblad NY and Sonic X-Treme are currently scheduled for Fall 1997 releases.


December 17, 1996

SEGA NAMES NEW GROUP DIRECTOR OF THIRD PARTY LICENSING

Sega of America Tuesday announced that Gretchen Eichinger has joined the company as group director of third party licensing. Eichinger will manage business and marketing relationships with independent game developers who create content for Sega’s hardware platforms.

Prior to joining Sega, Eichinger was vice president of third party relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America, maker of the Sony PlayStation videogame console. “Gretchen has a very strong track record in building productive third party relationships, acquiring successful titles and maintaining long-term partnerships with key developers for next generation gaming platforms,” said Shoichiro Irimajiri, chairman and CEO, Sega of America.

“Her contributions will be an integral part of our strategy in 1997 to acquire and support the best third party titles, including exclusive games for the Sega Saturn platform.” There are currently more than 40 third party software developers creating games for the Sega Saturn system. By the end of 1996, there will be 155 third party games available for the Sega Saturn systems, with more than 100 new games in development.

While at Sony Computer Entertainment America, Eichinger managed all aspects of third party relations for the Sony PlayStation system, including department organization, title review and selection, forecasting and planning the 1997 line-up. Prior to the vice president position, she was senior account executive responsible for preparing third party game support for the Sony PlayStation product launch. Eichinger was the western regional sales representative for The 3DO Co. prior to joining Sony. She was the first of four sales representatives for the company and was responsible for selling Studio 3DO products and overall promotion of the 3DO platform to retailers.


December 15, 1996

GAMEWORKS UNVEILED

Sega of America, Dreamworks SKG and MCA last week in Seattle unveiled the first of what are projected to be 100 GameWorks locations worldwide by 2002. The 30,000-square-foot location is slated to open in March, featuring Vertical Reality, a virtual-reality shooting game designed by Steven Spielberg, as well as arcade games and computer stations with Internet access and software. Gameworks will add a 50,000-square-foot location in Las Vegas by spring and 30,000-square-foot outlet in Ontario Hills, Calif., by summer. Ex-MCA executive Skip Paul has been named Gameworks chairman and chief executive officer, while Michael Montgomery, ex-Dream-works, joins as president, and John Snoddy, ex- Disney Interactive, is the chief designer.


December 13, 1996

SATURN VIDEO PHONE

Sega Enterprises Ltd and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp said on Friday that they would jointly develop a type of videophone using Sega’s 32-bit game player Sega Saturn and television sets.

The two firms will joinly develop and produce an adaptor which will turn Sega Saturn players into videophones when connected to telephone lines and TV sets. The adaptor, which incorporates a microphone and a camera, will be launched on the Japanese market at a price of around ¥30,000 ($265) next spring or summer, a Sega spokeswoman said.

NTT will develop the technology and Sega will be in charge of manufacturing and sales, the two companies said. The initial year sales target is set at 20,000 adaptors, the spokeswoman said. The two firms said they plan to develop new applications for the videophone in the entertainment, education and medical fields.

The Saturn-based gadget could bring a cheap, household-use videophone for the first time on to the Japanese market, where only expensive business-use videoconference systems are available. ($1=113 yen)


December 12, 1996

SUPER CAR ANNOUNCED FOR SAUTRN

As reported by Saturnworld, Sega has announced that Super Car will be brought over to the Saturn. Saturworld also brought up some rumors of possible hardware upgrades for the Saturn and the possibility of a VF3 disc that would work with both the upgrade and without. For more information on this, check out Saturnworld.

SEGA FISCAL NET PROFIT UP

Nikkei News Index reports that Sega’s estimated net profit for Fiscal Year ’96 is the 4th largest growth on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It’s estimated to be 201.7% higher than last year, or 16 billion yen. (That’s about 1.6 billion $)
(from: OOverlord)

MANX TT AND SKY TARKGET ANNOUNCED FOR SATURN

Manx TT and Sky Target have been officially announced for the Sega Saturn. Manx TT should be released this spring in the US, while Sky Target has no release date at this time.


December 11, 1996

MORE GOOD NEWS FOR SEGA

Electronic Boutique reports that Saturn sales are 10x better since the announcement of the 3 game pack in. Pete Roytmair, head of video buying for Electronic Boutique, had the following to say about the Saturn sales in the US. “Their sales have increased tenfold. We were shocked”. In other good news, Sega’s stock is in the top 5 most active convertible bonds on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Source: LA Times From: OOverlord


December 10, 1996

SEGA CLAIMS SATURN SALES ARE ON PAR WITH OR BETTER THAN PS SALES

New Sega of America management team, wasting little time since taking reins formally Oct. 1, launched aggressive Sega Saturn holiday promotion and ad campaign that company said is helping to narrow gap with rival Sony PlayStation.

But sources we polled said Sega and Sony 32-bit systems are lagging behind Nintendo N64 in consumers’ eyes. N64 is nearing one million units shipped to dealers after only 2 months, with retail shortages still being reported. Nintendo of America spokeswoman said company is working frantically to boost 1996 shipments to U.S. yet again, this time to 1.4 million from 1.2 million.

SOA said Saturn sales jumped 500% over Thanksgiving weekend primarily due to Three Pack promotion, offering 3 free games, Daytona USA, Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter 2, with purchase of $199 Saturn. SOA said Saturn game sales soared 400% over same period, double industry average for holiday weekend.

SOA has been blanketing TV with ads for Three Pack, Saturn NetLink Internet browser accessory and spots reestablishing Sega Scream. After being outsold by up to 3:1 by PlayStation earlier in year, SOA spokeswoman said Saturn is selling on par with Sony machine at Electronic Boutique, MediaPlay, Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us. “We’re also doing very well at Target,” she said. Since promotion began Nov. 18, retail reorders have topped 400,000, SOA said, and it will have 1.5 million installed base by year-end.

Spokeswoman said credit for improved Saturn performance lies with new management team led by Pres.-CEO Shoichiro Irimajiri and Exec. Vp Ted Hoff, which took over for ex-Pres.-CEO Tom Kalinske and ex-Exec. Vp Michael Ribero. “This team knows what we need to do,” she said.

Net Link accessory sales are doing well, spokeswoman said, with 300 sign-ups for Planet Web Internet Service on first day with little or no advertising. Current ad campaign touts Net Link as Web browser, but she said 2nd campaign promoting online gaming is being planned for spring once small library of network-playable games reaches shelves.

One retail executive we canvassed supported SOA claims, saying Saturn has “seriously narrowed the gap” with PlayStation. Official, requesting anonymity, said SOA promotion has increased sales significantly. However, he said Saturn/PlayStation battle is for 2nd place and N64, if available, is far and away hot choice for consumers. “When all 3 are on the shelves, it’s no contest,” he said. Funco Pres. David Pomije said impact of Saturn promotion has been “positive” but while system is selling well, it’s not capturing market share from PlayStation or N64. (Information from OOverlord)

SEGA EXPERIENCES RISE IN STOCK

Dealers and institutional investors bought Sega Enterprises Monday on a Nihon Keizai Shimbun report the company intends to sell video arcade equipment in South Korea through a joint venture with Hyundai Corp.

The stock price advanced to 4,320 yen in the morning, testing the five-day moving average of 4,336. At 1:39 p.m. it was at 4,290, up 60.
(Information from OOverlord)

DRAGON HEART PLANNED FOR SATURN

Acclaim has announced that it is planning to release Dragonheart for the PS and Saturn. For more information, go to Game Fan Online.


December 9, 1996

Christmas NiGHTS Press Release

Sega of America has announced the special distribution of the promotional holiday game “Christmas NiGHTS,” a free sampler disc based on the top-selling Sega Saturn game “NiGHTS”. This Yuletide adventure is available free on Dec. 12 in 100,000 January newsstand issues of both Ultra Game Players and Next Generation magazines at more than 15,000 retail outlets. In addition, nationwide Blockbuster stores will give free rental of “Christmas NiGHTS” to any Sega Saturn game rental customer.

As a special added value, a coupon for a $5 or $15 discount on one or two Sega Saturn software titles will also be bundled with the “Christmas NiGHTS” sampler in the two magazines. “In many ways `Christmas NiGHTS’ is a great technology demonstration for Sega Saturn, but more importantly, it is simply Sega’s way of saying happy holidays to all of our loyal Sega Saturn gamers,” said Ted Hoff, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Sega of America.

Based on the original hit game designed by Yuji Naka and the Sonic Team, “Christmas NiGHTS” takes gamers into newly transformed worlds of beautiful Christmas themes and holiday music. Game environments have been redesigned from lush gardens to landscapes of snow, glittering lights and gumdrops. Each world features a totally different look and feel from the original game, with bells replacing stars, rings becoming wreaths, and Ideya Captures are now giant decorated Christmas trees.

Other annual holiday themes are celebrated in the game as well. During the calendar year (represented by the internal Sega Saturn clock), different dates such as New Year’s and April Fool’s Day along with Winter NiGHTS and Christmas NiGHTS trigger newly transformed environments and theme music which highlight unique and different gameplay.

“Christmas NiGHTS” features more than just newly decorated “NiGHTS” game environments. The sampler also features special presents for avid gamers. After finishing a level, players are treated to a pair-matching game where gamers get a chance to pick pairs of icons. When the pairs match, the resulting present unlocks different features on the disc. Gaming gifts include a gallery of high-resolution image art, a Nightopian Karaoke feature, two movies, and four different methods to play (look for Sega’s blue dude with a ‘tude in this mode!).

SEGA TEAMS UP WITH HYUNDAI TO SELL ARCADE EQUIPMENT

Sega Enterprises ltd and South Korea’s Hyundai Group plan to set up a joint venture in Seoul to sell arcade game equipment, a Japanese newspaper reported on Monday. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun financial daily reported that the new company will import both finished products and components for local assembly from Japan. The company, to be capitalised at 690 million yen, will be owned 75 percent by Hyundai and 25 percent by Sega, the newspaper said. The joint venture, due to start in January 1997, is hoping for annual sales of 2.5 billion yen in the first year and 10 billion yen by 2000, it said.


December 7, 1996

AMOK DELAYED

As reported by Saturnworld, Scavenger has announced that Amok has been delayed indefinitely due to some last minute glitches that were found. See Saturnworld for more information.


December 6, 1996

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE A BAD SATURN DISPLAY

If you see SEGA Saturn displayed badly, SEGA Saturn demo units not running or running OLD stuff like Virtua Fighter 1 instead of hot new games that show off the system (like Fighting Vipers, Nights, or Virtua Fighter 2) , tell me (Vic Ireland):

1. The store name.
2. The store location. (mall or street name and city if that’s all you have, store # would be great!)
3. A detailed account of what was wrong.
4. I’ll do my best to get it fixed ASAP.

In this case ONLY, I am encouraging E-mail, instead of the normal request that you reply here in the newsgroups for all to see. Prodigy flakes and loses about 10% of the postings here so some I never see, and I don’t want to miss ANY of these. Besides, I don’t want to add to the clutter here lately.

Please only tell me only about stuff in chain stores like Toys R Us, Meijer, Electronics Boutique, Sears, Kmart, Blockbuster Video, Wal Mart, Fred Meyer, etc. I don’t have the pull to straighten out Mom n Pop stores or 1 store locations. Also, put just the store chain name in the subject and save all the details for the E-mail body. This will help me to sort them quickly.

SEGA fans unite. If I am made aware of any badly merchandised location, I will make every effort to have it corrected to keep the Saturn Christmas 3-pack sales promotion red-hot (and, help Working Designs in the process…hehe).

Thanks in advance for your support.

Victor Ireland
Working Designs
SMRW14A@prodigy.com

BUT TOO! IS OUT

Bug Too! has shipped and should begin arriving in stores today, December 6, 1996.


December 5, 1996

LATEST SATURN RUMORS

Last night, Saturnworld and Next Generation Online reported that Psygnosis is set to sign a deal which will pass over some of its Saturn publishing rights to THQ. Saturnworld reported that the latest rumor has Sega’s next system possibly being a Model 3 board. For more information on both of these rumors go to their pages.

MORE FIGHTER’S MEGAMiX NEWS

Game Fan Online reported that Fighter’s Megamix will allow you to choose to play Megamix in VF2 mode or Fighting Vipers mode. With each mode having more characteristics from that game. You will also have the option of selecting the type of ring you want, either with caged rings or large arenas with no ring outs. For more information go to Game Fan Online.


December 3, 1996

SATURN SALES UP 500%

Sega of America Tuesday announced that sales of its 32-bit Sega Saturn video-game system increased 500 percent Thanksgiving weekend because of the “Three Pack” holiday promotion offering three free arcade hits with a Sega Saturn purchase. Sega Saturn game sales also jumped 400 percent, which was two times higher than the industry increase in software sales overall last weekend.

“Sega Saturn sales equaled or beat the competition nationwide at most of our top retail accounts,” said Ted Hoff, executive vice president, Sega of America. “The combination of exclusive arcade hits and great consumer value with the `Three Pack’ promotion is unbeatable. After all, that’s exactly what our consumers demand — and Sega is delivering.”

To date, sales of Sega Saturn have surpassed 1 million units in North America. Sega is confident it will meet its goal of selling 1.5 million units by the end of December 1996.

Since the promotion began on Nov. 18, retail reorders of Sega Saturn hardware have topped 400,000 units. In anticipation of this, Sega has increased production to meet the holiday demand.

“We’re seeing great short-term results from the `Three Pack’ promotion and believe it will have a big impact on our Sega Saturn software sales in the future,” said Jeff Griffiths, senior vice president, Electronics Boutique. “It has boosted customer traffic for Sega products and generated tremendous interest in Sega’s holiday lineup and games to come in 1997.”

Sega launched the “Three-Pack” promotion as part of its $60 million holiday marketing campaign, which also includes national TV, radio and print advertising, expanded in-store merchandising and three times the number of playable systems in stores compared with last year.

Under the promotion, Sega Saturn customers receive three of Sega’s best-selling arcade-to-home games — “Virtua Fighter 2,” “Daytona USA” and “Virtua Cop” — plus coupons for up to $15 off any two of the more than 150 Sega Saturn games available.

The promotion runs through Dec. 31, 1996, and is available at all 20,000 retail storefronts carrying Sega Saturn products nationwide.


December 2, 1996

AM2’S SECOND SUPRISE GAME

Sega’s AM2 division has just announced their second surprise offering for the Saturn. Titled Digital Dance Mix – Namie Amuro, the game is based around the Japan’s top song performer, 19 year-old Namie Amuro. According to Sega of Japan, AM2’s frontman, Yu Suzuki is a huge Amuro fan.

In the game, you control Miss Amuro’s singing, dancing, and concert promotions– a real fan’s dream. Graphics are being done by AM2 and Amuro will be rendered in CG while moving at a fluid 60 fps. Some of her hit songs “Body Feels Exit,” Chase the Chance,” and “You Are My Sunshine” will be included in the game. Earlier this year, Namie Amuro smashed Billboard Magazine’s record for “the fastest selling album ever,” when her first solo album “Sweet 19 Blues” sold more than 4 million copies the first week of its release. The previous record holder was the Seattle grunge band, Pearl Jam with its 1993 release “Versus” which sold nearly 1 million copies it’s first week.

NEW JAPANESE SATURN RELEASES

Christmas NiGHTS, Gundam Side Story 2, Stakes Winner G-1, Super Puzzle Fighter 2X, and Thunderforce Gold Pack 2 have bee released in Japan and should be available for import.