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.
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Ghost Squad Evolution is Ghost Squad minus the card system, ie every item/level available from the start.
Sega Rally 3/Super Challenge – who is the audience for this game? I can’t see fans of the console game seeking this out and it’s uncertain whether fans of Initial D/Wangan Midnight MT/Battle Gear will go for it either. Are casuals players their target, hence the big cabinet?
Being a big fan of racing games and especially Sega produced fare at that, I would be interested to see the new Sega Rally 3 at least given a test run in one the bigger London arcades to see what reception it gets before a general release is considered. In the current arcade climate testing upcoming games for the likes of Sega is as important as ever.
Have to admit, I was not very impressed with RaceTV at ATEI but have heard a rumour they might be developing an all new Virtua Racing/Formula title, possibly to counter the disappointment leveled at Racetv. Therefore I am also wondering if Sega might be developing new arcade hardware to stay afloat on the technology front although, granted, there is little to no gap between arcade or console hardware now. However, I hope the likes of AM2 can come up with goods to keep fans playing and win a new audience simultaneously.
Sorry, But I can say so much… Over Price… same old games…. I’ll stop…
Rally 3 will be a good game but not taken as seriously because it already exists on the consoles. I don’t see any sense in releasing arcade versions of console franchises, as good as the games may be. How is that going to make people want to go to the arcade? Sega should spend a few dollars to just survey us gamers and ask us one simple question: What would we like to play in an arcade?
Oh, and you forgot to mention their upcoming fighting game, which is understandable because it LOOKS so forgettable.
I can’t say too much about the Japanese arcade scene, but I would imagine that Virtua Fighter 5 R will draw in some business, as the VF series is huge there. However, it’ll be launching into a tough market – Namco has Tekken 6 out there, and the new Street Fighter and King of Fighters games aren’t going to help it either.
In the international market, the best performing game for Sega lately seems to have been Let’s Go Jungle – it seems to have popped up everywhere since last summer, and I rarely see an empty machine. Unfortunately other games haven’t done so well, a situation for which various explanations can be offered (poor support certainly plays a part in the cases of 2 Spicy and Virtua Fighter 5). However, few would deny that games like Race TV just haven’t hit the mark, and the price issue is still problematic.
As for Sega Rally 3, I mainly see it as being a replacement for OutRun 2 and its updates. That still managed to pull in the money despite the home releases on PC, Xbox, PS2 and PSP, but has been out for five years now and even the SDX setup won’t keep it going forever. Anyhow, we should have a lot more to tell you about Sega Rally 3 soon.
Sega Rally 1 and 2 are still quite popular, despite the sequel being rubbish. It’s their biggest racing franchise after Daytona so it would seem to make sense to update it.
I’d say a new Daytona would get people very, very excited though. Even a “Greatest Hits” type thing with updated graphics and a couple of new tracks. Nascar did very well. If they got the balance right and had it be a bit fantastical like Daytona 1 and Scud Race, but not totally crazy theme park looking like Daytona 2 and Race TV then they might bring in all types of players.
Outrun 2 definately needs replacing. I think the SDX setup was a step to far. The game was already starting to look rather dated before they released that.
Personally I think they need to release more standard Lindberg games. There’s not enough variety with just Virtua Tennis 3 and Virtua Fighter 5. They could always port whatever they make over, and it’d be cheap to release it in the Western market because there are quite alot of HD cabinets over here at this stage.
Agreed, Daytona was one of the biggest arcade franchises for Sega followed by Sega Rally and even today when a discussion pops up on the topic of arcade racers, Daytona is the one which most people want an update to. It was a magic formula that hit all the right spots, somehow Daytona 2, despite being a fantastic racer in its own right, just didn’t command the same reverence as its predecessor.
Sega Rally 3 in an arcade environment might work. Despite there being a home release the arcade set up is something very few people could replicate at home, that is, 62 inch LCD screen, and hydraulic cabinet. And there is a section of the market that don’t play consoles on a regular basis like myself. I would like to be able to pop into an arcade for 20 minutes and just have a few goes at the arcade version. Also, Sega Rally was always designed as an arcade game so that is where it would feel right at home.
On the subject of Outrun 2 SDX, although a fantastic game and cabinet I was a little disappointed that Sega did not design a new set of courses as they did when updating Outrun 2 to SP, it seemed a good opportunity as the game was being migrated from the Chihiro to Lindberg arcade board. The game itself was also quite expensive to play here in London, so some people might have felt short changed that when you stripped away the cabinet and 62 inch LCD it was essentially the same as Outrun 2 SP.
Anyhow, I hope Sega do well with their next set of releases and bring back some of the old magic we know they have.