It’s sad to say that all is not well in Sega land right now, with the company suffering a net loss of $505 million where last year they had been making a decent profit. This of course includes their console AND arcade /pachinko division and when it comes to their arcade facilities they took the same path as Namco Japan did recently and blamed it on high gas prices keeping people home and the allure of super powerful game systems. This will result in the closure of some 110 facilities but they do not state where; most likely they will happen in Japan.
I can’t say much about how things are going in the Japanese arcade market as it is a different beast but for the market I live in I can say something. There have been some changes in Sega Amusements USA recently but so far it’s too early to tell how they are going to turn out. I hope that that they understand one important thing when it comes to the market here: that you need compelling, exclusive games to drag people out of their homes, you need to market your games better and the prices need to be more competitive. As far as their newest line-up goes RaceTV just didn’t cut it for people; Ghost Squad Evolution barely made a wave and as I was told by another player that the game was “a complete joke as it’s the same thing as the original with a few extras”. Primeval Hunt seems to be doing well but again it’s facing a challenge as it is very expensive and operators are leery about the touch screen(I do give Sega kudos for trying something different at least, although they should consider giving 2Spicy a try again in the States). Now from what I know of the future of Sega’s arcade games, they might have a couple of great titles on the horizon including Rambo(which was our most popular post within the past month so the interest is there) and a new Sega Rally that we confirmed not too long ago was not cancelled. For me it’s going to be about the quality of the game and the price and I’ll be paying close attention to whether they deliver on both fronts. I do have high hopes for these two games but it’s a crowded market for both racers and light-gun shooters as we see those games from almost every arcade developer out there right now. I’d like to see them bring back some other franchises that have done well like Top Skater, Space Harrier, any of their scrolling fighters – i.e. something a little different from the norm.