January 30, 1997

ALL STAR BASEBALL ’97 ANNOUNCED FOR SATURN

With interleague play getting under way this year, baseball fans face the most exciting season ever. Video game players have something extra to cheer about, because Acclaim Entertainment, Inc., a leading worldwide interactive entertainment company, today announced All-Star Baseball ’97 Featuring Frank Thomas. Officially licensed by both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and featuring Jon Miller, the voice of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the San Francisco Giants — All-Star Baseball ’97 will be available for Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn in April 1997.


 

January 27, 1997

SEGA OFFERS BUY 2 GET 1 DEAL TO ALL SATURN OWNERS

Sega of America Monday announced it will offer all Sega Saturn owners a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” game promotion including many of the company’s top selling titles. The promotion, running Feb. 15 to April 15, illustrates Sega’s focus in 1997 on the Sega Saturn gaming experience and consumer value. Gamers purchasing any two of 12 identified first- and third-party Sega Saturn games will receive one game free from a pre-set list of four leading titles.

“The Sega Saturn consumer will get the best value and best games in the business,” said Ted Hoff, executive vice president, Sega of America. “Sega Saturn gained more ground from November to December in the next generation platform business than its competitors, with its market share jumping at least 13 percentage points in December. “This promotion will help us carry the momentum we gained during the holiday season into spring by rewarding all Sega Saturn owners.”

The group of 12 games identified in the promotion includes:

“Amok” “Bug Too!” “Dark Savior” “Daytonac USA CCE” “Fighting Vipers” “NFL 97” “Scorcher” “Sonic 3D Blast” “Soviet Strike” (Electronic Arts) “Tomb Raider” (Eidos Interactive) “Virtua Cop 2” “World Series Baseball II”

Gamers purchasing any two of these will receive one of the following free:

“NiGHTS” “Sega Rally Championship” “Sega Worldwide Soccer 97” “Virtual On”

Under the promotion, gamers must mail to Sega their dated game receipts, the UPC codes from the packaging and a coupon/order form listing the free game they’ve chosen. A $2.95 charge is required for shipping and handling. Sega is supporting the promotion with its first ever direct mail campaign targeting Sega Saturn owners who have returned their registration card. The coupon is included in the mailing. Through March 31, consumers who return their Sega Saturn registration cards are included in a drawing for a free “Virtua Fighter 3″ arcade machine.

The mail-in coupon is also available on counter top displays at retail, in print advertising, on Sega’s Web site (http://www.sega.com/”>www.sega.com) and by calling Sega at 800/SEE-SATURN.


 

January 26, 1997

CAN’T FIND THE SEGA RAM CART ANYWHERE? TRY WORKING DESIGNS

The following is a post from Vic Ireland of Working Designs on rec.games.video.sega:

I’ve decided to step in and step the tide somewhat of these CRAPPY Interact RAM carts being bought because the SEGA RAM cart is in such limited distribution.Any Saturn user can now purchase the SEGA Saturn Backup RAM cart NEW from us (Working Designs) for $49.95, which includes Federal Express 2 day shipping. We’re thinking of including custom stickers for the ones we sell, but for now, we’ll include the limited edition Dragon Force sticker – your choice.

I personally don’t care WHERE you buy the SEGA RAM cart, but PLEASE save yourself some nearly guaranteed trouble and just BUY IT over ANY Interact product (Mem Card +, Memory Card, Game Shark), and tell your friends to do the same. We have more customer service headaches of these carts crashing systems and corrupting games than ANY OTHER SUPPORT ISSUE at the current time.

Since most places are selling the SEGA RAM cart for $59-$64, our $49 price, including shipping should make this (the right, though pricier choice) an easier road to take, now.

Thanks for your support.
Vic

You can contact Working Designs at (916) 243-3417. Their mailing address is:

Working Designs
18135 Clear Creek Rd.
Redding, CA 96001

 


 

January 24, 1997

SEGA BANDAI MERGER IMPROVES THEIR CREDIT QUALITY

Sega Enterprises’ equity purchase of Bandai Company Ltd. will strengthen the credit quality of both companies in the new entity, to be named Sega Bandai Ltd. The merger of Sega, the world’s third-largest video game maker, and Bandai, Japan’s largest toy maker, will create the largest toy and video company in the world.

The larger entity will be more diversified and will gain some negotiating clout with powerful toy retailers. Also, each company targets different age groups in the toy-entertainment market. However, the two companies face integration risk and need to eliminate redundancies stemming from the merger.

UNCERTANTIY OVER FUTURE HITS SEGA, BANDAI SHARES

Investors reacted coolly Friday to the planned union of video-game giant Sega and toy maker Bandai Corp., shunning shares in both companies. Although billed as a formidable alliance combining characters such as Bandai’s Power Rangers and Sega’s Virtua Fighters, stock market pundits were worried the combined company would have a fight on its hands in a tough market.

Brokers said uncertainties over how Sega-Bandai will fare against video-game competitors and glum profits forecasts for both firms in the business year ending on March 31 watered down incentives to buy, brokers said. “There is potential, of course, but until we see what sort of business they are going to do together, we don’t want to invest,” a broker at a middle-sized brokerage said.

Based on the merger ratio, Bandai Co. Ltd. shares would normally have been expected to rise and shares in Sega Enterprises Ltd., as the dominant partner, would slip. Instead, the toy manufacturer’s shares finished 140 yen ($1.18) lower at 2,420 yen ($20.33). This was partly because of a steep decline of Sega shares, which slipped by 340 yen ($2.86) to close at 3,320 ($27.89).

For each Bandai share, stockholders will get 0.76 Sega share. Based on the closing price for Friday, each Bandai share would be worth 2,523 yen ($21.20), compared with Bandai’s market close at 2,420 yen ($20.33), a modest premium of 4 percent over the market value. On the levels the day before, when the deal was announced, the premium was 8 percent and the deal was valued at 129 billion yen ($1.08 billion). The deal was unveiled after the stock market closed on Thursday.


 

January 23, 1997

SEGA ENTERPRISES LTD. AND BANDAI ANNOUNCE MERGER

Electronic entertainment giant Sega Enterprises Ltd. [TOKYO:7964] and Japan’s largest toy maker, Bandai Co., [TOKYO:7967] have announced they will merge on October 1st to become Sega Bandai Ltd. The merger will create a “worldwide high technology company that produces both hardware and software for the home and office,” said officials of the companies today.

Under the terms of the merger, announced at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, one share of Bandai stock will be worth 0.76 shares of Sega Enterprises. The new company will have consolidated revenues of 600 billion yen ($5.03 billion). On the Tokyo Stock Exchange shares in Sega ended the day down 60 at 3660 yen and Bandai closed up 200 at 2560.

“The merger will permit us to focus more energy on expanding business promotion in all markets from toddlers to adults,” said a company statement from Bandai. It was also announced that Bandai’s Makota Yamashina will be president of the new company and Sega’s Isao Ohkawa will be chairman, the same position he holds now.

Sony President Nobuyuki Idei, whose company battles Sega in the home video game market, was quoted by Reuter as saying, “I never expected such a combination of the two companies, so I’m very surprised.”

For the two companies, the merger comes at a time when they are both beginning to feel hard times. Sega is still the leader in commercial video games, the type found in games centers, but has lost its second place in the home market. Strong competition from Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s 64 machines have pushed it into third place.

Bandai, while still maintaining its position as Japan’s top toy maker, is in a market that is, ironically, suffering from the increased time children are playing video games and using the Internet. Bandai is expected to post a loss this year for the first time in its history. That loss is expected to be around 2 billion yen (US$16.78 million).

Bandai is best known for its “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” “Sailor Moon,” “Dragon Ball,” “Ultraman,” and “Godzilla” toys, but also manufacturers electronic devices. Bandai’s American subsidiary, Bandai Digital Entertainment Corp., recently developed an Internet terminal device. The unit, named Pippin AtMark in Japan and World in the United States, allows consumers to surf the Web and have access to electronic-mail on a television screen.


 

January 22, 1997

WESTWOOD’S COMMAND & CONQUER PRESS RELEASE

Westwood Studios, the company behind the phenomenally successful combat strategy game series Command & Conquer today announced it has recently shipped the game for the SegaŽ Saturn game system. Command & Conquer is the first strategy combat game ever developed for the Sega Saturn, and contains all the same missions and action of the PC and Macintosh versions.

“Command & Conquer set the standard for combat strategy games on the PC and we’re delighted to bring this best-selling game to the more than five million Sega Saturn owners worldwide,” said Brett W. Sperry, president and CEO of Westwood Studios. “Judging by the success of Command & Conquer for the PC, we expect that Sega Saturn owners will find the game equally exciting, challenging and engaging.”

“We are excited that Westwood has chosen to bring their best-selling title to the Sega Saturn,” said Bernie Stolar, executive vice president, Sega of America. “Games like Command & Conquer are very popular among Sega Saturn owners. I believe this will be a hardware seller for us and a tremendous hit for Westwood Studios.” Game Background

Command & Conquer is a real-time strategy game based in the near future where two major factions, the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of NOD, fight for control of the world. The GDI represents the democratic way of life, while NOD is a totalitarian regime led by the brilliant, if enigmatic, Kane.

Players choose to fight as either the GDI or NOD. Each side is equipped with its own weapons and technology, making the strategies needed to win different for each side. While each mission has its own objectives, players must coordinate a variety of activities including: base construction, weapons manufacturing, attacking the enemy as well as defending their own base. In between missions, players are treated to exciting cinematic sequences that reveal more of the story, as well as high resolution cut scenes and dramatic moments.

Command & Conquer for Sega Saturn is now available at all major software and videogame retail outlets in North America and Europe. The game will be available in Japan in February. The product can also be ordered directly from Westwood via the company’s Web site (www.westwood.com), or in the U.S. from Virgin Interactive Entertainment by calling 888/VIE-COM1. Virgin Interactive Entertainment is the exclusive worldwide distributor for Westwood Studios. The suggested retail price is $49.99.


 

January 21, 1997

GENSO SUIKODEN ANNOUNCED FOR THE SATURN

According to Game Fan Online, Genso Suikoden has been announced for the Sega Saturn in Japan by Konami. Based on Konami’s US history with the Sega Saturn, the chances of a version of Suikoden in the US seem to be highly unlikely. If you are interested in a US version of Suikoden, you might want to send an E-Mail to Konami and voice your opinion.

THQ TO DISTRIBUTE PSYGNOSIS GAMES FOR SATURN

According to Saturnworld, THQ has officially announced that they will distribute Psygnosis games for the Sega Saturn. They currently plan to distribute seven different titles, including Tenka, Destruction Derby, and Sentient. Wipeout XL was not mentioned. For full details, head over to Saturnworld.

NEW IMPORTS RELEASES

Daytona USA Circuit Edition, Dynamite Detective and Eve Burst Error have been or will be released this week in Japan. In US software release news, Incredible Hulk by Eidos Interactive should begin to arrive in stores today.


 

January 15, 1997

NEW IMPORT RELEASES

Funky Head Boxers from Sega and Rockman 8 from Capcom have both been recently released in Japan and should be available for import now.


 

January 14, 1997

WORLDWIDE SATURN SALES REACH 7.16 MILLION

Sega Enterprises Ltd said on Tuesday that global shipments of its Sega Saturn game players by the end of December 31 totalled 7.16 million units. A company spokesman said that it was shipping 32-bit video game players at a more rapid pace than originally planned.

By the end of 1996, its shipments in Japan amounted to 4.4 million units and in the United States to 1.7 million. Its shipments in Europe by the end of 1996 totaled 900,000 units and 160,000 in other markets, the spokesman said.

“Our sales in the Christmas shopping season were as smooth as we expected but industry experts say sales of PlayStation were a little more active,” the Sega spokesman said.

ENIX TO DEVELOP FOR SATURN, BUT…

Enix announced that they have agreed with Sega Enterprises Ltd to develop and sell software for Sega’s 32-bit game player Sega Saturn. But, on a very sad note, Enix announced that Dragon Quest VII will be developed for the Playstation.


 

January 13, 1997

SATURN SALES REACH 1.6 MILLION

Sega of America Monday announced that sales of its Sega Saturn video game console exceeded the company’s 1996 projections delivering an installed base of 1.6 million in North America. Worldwide Sega Saturn sales to date total more than 7 million units. Sega Saturn game sales jumped 175 percent compared with 1995, totaling 5.5 million units of first- and third-party software sold in 1996 in North America.

“Strong titles and good value drove sales beyond our expectations this year, especially during the holidays, when retailers were reporting that Sega Saturn sales surpassed the competition by as much as 2-to-1,” said Shoichiro Irimajiri, chairman and CEO, Sega of America.

“No other company can deliver the quality and quantity of games Sega brings to the market; this will be even more evident in 1997 as we make customer satisfaction our No. 1 priority.”

Sega sold 1.3 million Sega Saturn systems to retail in 1996, with 1.2 million selling through to consumers. Combined with the 400,000 systems sold through in 1995, the total installed base reached 1.6 million. The North American Sega Saturn installed base is expected to reach at least 1.7 million by the end of the company’s fiscal year, March 31, 1997.

Sega’s “three pack” promotion helped boost sales in December alone to more than 500,000 Sega Saturn units, up 300 percent over November sales. Under the promotion, consumers received three free arcade translation games (“Virtua Fighter 2,” “Daytona USA” and “Virtua Cop”) with the purchase of a Sega Saturn.

“The `three free’ promotion is one of the most successful consumer initiatives for increasing hardware sales volume in Sega’s history,” said Ted Hoff, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Sega of America. “To keep the momentum going well into the new year, we’re extending the promotion until March 31. Our research shows that once consumers play our games, they’re hooked on Sega Saturn.”

The promotion also includes coupons good for $5 off one game or $15 off any two Sega Saturn games. The coupon is good through Feb. 28. During the promotion, software sales continued to rise as much as 400 percent from November to December, with games such as “Sonic 3D Blast,” “NiGHTS” and exclusive arcade translations selling beyond projections. Sega sold 2.7 million first-party games, while third-party game sales reached 2.8 million, totaling 5.5 million Sega Saturn games purchased in 1996.

Sega’s game plan for 1997 includes expanding the Sega Saturn library with new arcade-to-home translations — including the ground-breaking “Virtua Fighter 3” game — a competitive sports lineup, new character games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, and all the best third-party games.

“Of all next generation platform gamers, the Sega Saturn customer will have the best software lineup to choose from,” said Bernie Stolar, executive vice president of product development, Sega of America. “Our customers can look forward to exclusive third-party titles and simultaneous game launches across the next generation consoles, in addition to more than 20 in-house hits we’ll deliver in 1997.”

Finally a Sega spokesman said the company sold 10,000 units of its NetLink product, which when used with Saturn can connect a television set to the Internet. He said the sales were “a little under” forecasts, but added the company expects the market for these new products to take time to develop.


 

January 11, 1997

DUKE 3D FOR SATURN

According to GameFan Online, Lobotomy software has been licensed by GT Interactive to convert Duke Nukem 3D to the Saturn. Lobotomy was responsible for the Saturn version of Powerslave and plan to use that engine for Duke Nukem 3D. It should be released this June and may be NetLink capable.