Over 6,000 self-indentified PC gamers want Sega to bring more of its console games to personal computers, according to a petition launched on Change.org. The petition, which has 6,539 supporters (as of this writing), calls on Sega to bring more console games to the PC. The petition name checks some particularly popular titles including PlatinumGames' Bayonetta and Vanquish, SEGA AM2's Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, and other popular titles.
Atlus, which was recently purchased by Sega, announced this week that VanillaWare's RPG beat 'em-up Dragon's Crown has sold more than 800,000 units on PS3 and PS Vita. The publisher also announced that Persona 4 Golden has shipped 700,000 copies. Those figures include digital downloads in addition to retail sales. Persona 4 Golden is a remake of the PS2 RPG, and was released in June of this year. Dragon's Crown was released in July.
A trademark unearthed earlier this week attributed to Sega's Shenmue franchise has turned out to be a fake. Sega says that the application for a Shenmue III trademark was not filed by the company and that it is looking into its origins.
"Sega has confirmed that the recent application for the trademark of Shenmue III is a fake and is looking into the origins of this application," the publisher told GameSpot in a statement.
Veteran video game industry executive Charles Bellfield passed away in San Francisco last night, according to a Facebook post by his brother Edward Bellfield. Friends and former colleagues from the games industry left their condolences and remembrances of Bellfield on Facebook, including Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore, whom Bellfield reported to at Sega when the company launched the Dreamcast console in 1999.
Moore called Bellfield "the quintessential Englishman Abroad" as well as "a great friend, a wonderful personality."
Sega has confirmed that it has taken over the operations of Index Corporation, the Japanese parent company of video game publisher Atlus. Index filed for "Civil Rehabilitation" (the Japanese version of bankruptcy) in June of this year, after suffering heavy debts. Sega has acquired the company and Atlus, and has formed a new subsidiary to take over operations of the company, called Sega Dream Corporation (the name is tentative and will likely change at a later date).
Russian distributor 1C-SoftClub was forced to halt sales of the WWII real-time strategy game Company of Heroes 2 after consumers complained about the portrayal of Russian forces in the game. After numerous player complaints about Russian forces being portrayed as having a ruthless leadership and taking liberties with history, the distributor decided to stop shipping the game to retailers, and reached out to publisher Sega. Sega said that it was looking into these concerns.
Sega is one of twenty companies interested in buying out Atlus from Japanese parent company Index Holdings, according to a Blomberg Japan report (by way of CVG). Index Holdings purchased Atlus in 2006, but last month was forced to file for bankruptcy in the Tokyo District Court for over millions of dollars in debts it faced.
Aliens: Colonial Marines publisher Sega and developer Gearbox Software have responded to a class action lawsuit filed this week related to claims that the game was the falsely advertised.
A Sega spokesperson said that the company could not discuss the specifics of the ongoing litigation, and that the lawsuit was baseless:
Damion Perrine has filed a lawsuit against Sega related to Aliens: Colonial Marines, which he claims Sega represented falsely in its marketing as a far superior game than was delivered to consumers. He claims Sega engaged in "a classic bait-and-switch" with the game and that it also engaged in false advertising, breach of warranties, fraud in the inducement, negligent misrepresentation and committed consumer law violations. He is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action and has sued on behalf of everyone in the United States who bought the game on or before Feb.
Sega has confirmed with Kotaku that it plans to close its Brisbane-based development studio later this year. Sega said that it would close Sega Studios Australia later this year, but gave no particular reason for shutting down the operation.
The publisher says it will shut down Sega Studios Australia later this year; no rationale provided.
On this week's show we go live on Google + for a lengthy (video) discussion on the "RPG Camp" Kickstarter controversy, the results of the FTC's latest Secret Shopper Survey to test ratings enforcement at retail, Sega's decision to stop pulling Shining Force videos from YouTube and a whole lot more. Download Episode 46 now: SuperPAC Episode 46 (1 hour, 34 minutes) 240.0 MB.
If you are one of those YouTube users who put up a Shining Force video and had it unceremoniously yanked by YouTube at the request of Sega, then you'll be happy to read this story. Sega says via this Sega forum post that it will no longer engage in such anti-community activities any longer (thanks to Andrew Eisen for sending this one in).
According to this Reddit thread Sega has been forcing YouTube users to remove videos relating to the Sega Saturn hit strategy RPG Shining Force III. Many are speculating that Sega is doing this to prepare for the launch of a new PSP installment in the Shining series, Shining Ark, which will launch in Japan in February.
SEGA Europe COO Jurgen Post told GamesIndustry International this morning that the European arm of the company will close five offices this year in France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Benelux. The company will also tighten its focus on core brands and transitioning its business towards digital distribution of product. Those core brands include such franchises as Aliens, Sonic, Total War and Football Manager.
Sega Sammy announced this morning that it will see major operating losses for the previous full year and that it will have to cancel some games and make the company smaller. Blaming a challenging economic climate and a changing video game market, Sega Sammy said it will see a 7.1 billion yen loss. As a result, the company plans to "streamline organizations in the field of video game software in the U.S. and Europe."
It looks like the Australian game development community has been hit again by another round of layoffs - this time at a Sega studio. According to GameIndustry.biz, 37 employees have been laid off at Sega Studios Australia in Brisbane. The studios' most recent work was London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games. Prior to that the studio went under the name The Creative Assembly Australia and worked on Rome: Total War, Medieval II: Total War and Stormrise.
A Sega executive says that the era of big game studios in the United Kingdom is officially over. The British games industry will continue to survive, but no longer contains grand-scale development studios, says Sega production boss Gary Dunn. Dunn tells Develop that "it would take a brave soul to start up a 100-man studio at the moment, because the risk is so high."
Sega is opening a new micro-studio based in Solihull, who will work on smaller handheld and mobile games with a modest 15-person development team.
It is easy to see why Dunn is so pessimistic about the games industry's status in the UK; several large-scale development studios have either been shut down by their parent companies or have closed shop due financial reasons. Bizarre, Realtime Worlds, and Free Radical are just a few of the development studios that no longer exist.
In a recent interview with GameSpot, Sega's executive vice president of marketing Alan Pritchard talked about used games, the PlayStation Network security breach, and Aliens: Colonial Marines. The more interesting topics relate to Sony's security woes and what the Sega representative thinks about the effects of the used games market.
On the topic of how the PSN security breach affected Sega financially, Pritchard said:
"I don't think we can allow it to affect our relationship, regardless of what we think (laughs). We need to work with Sony. And we do have a good relationship with Sony. It has affected us because if it's down, we can't sell games. Sega's rapport with Sony remains unchanged following the PlayStation Network outage."
When asked about a specific monetary figure Pritchard declined to answer:
It must suck like a black hole to work on a fan project for eight long years only to have it taken down in about eight short days.
Developer Bomber Games spent the better part of the last decade remaking Sega’s classic beat 'em up, Streets of Rage. The redo, released last week, featured tons of stages, all of the playable characters from Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3, new modes and even a level editor.
Unfortunately, the game was taken down over the weekend. Said Streets of Rage Remake Community forum moderator charco:
“SEGA have contacted regarding the download hosted on this site. While this issue is being resolved, please do not upload the game for others to download. Any links posted on this site will be removed. Thank you.”
Has the consumer electronics industry been downplaying the negative effects 3D technology might have on a viewer’s health?
This is the angle a column on Audioholics takes, insinuating that Sega specifically buried a report by the Stanford Research Lab on its VR Headset. The story claims that the lab came back with “dire warnings about the hazards of prolonged use” and warned Sega specifically that “you cannot give this to kids!” The product never did make it to market.
The column also states that “Children under seven are at risk of strabismus – period.” Strabismus, also called “lazy-eye,” is described as “an abnormal alignment of the eyes in which the eyes don’t focus on the same object and depth perception is compromised.” While the condition can be treated, the author wonders if “it’s also never too late to learn bad habits that could create visual problems.”
The following conclusion was offered:
Sega's marvelous Dreamcast system launched ten years ago today and EA Sports boss Peter Moore, who headed Sega of America at the time, has posted a nice retrospective on his blog.
Although EA's refusal to develop for the DC was likely a major factor in its abbreviated life, Moore is diplomatic on this issue:
Over the years, I have been asked many times whether EA's decision not to develop and publish games for the Dreamcast was a major contributing factor in its early demise. That we will never know. But it is hard to argue with EA's rationale at the time and the ultimate outcome - get in position for the impending arrival of the Playstation 2, deploying all resources against the newest version of Sony's already wildly successful video game platform...
Moore also points out that the DC, which shipped with a built-in modem, was the first console truly enabled for online gaming:
With the Dreamcast's online capabilities, we coined a phrase "We're taking gamers where gaming is going"... As rudimentary as those first dial-up game play experiences were, we proved that it could be done, and that gamers were clamoring for competition that extended past whomever was sat next to you on the couch at the time...
Many saw the Dreamcast as a spectacular failure... If measured by longevity and the ultimate financial outcome, they were right. But the Dreamcast had a profound and lasting impact on the world of video games...
It was 15 years ago today that the video game industry introduced the ESRB rating system to Congress, reports Wired's This Day in Tech blog.
The move came in the wake of Congressional criticism of game violence, particularly the original Mortal Kombat, which seems laughably tame by today's standards. Wired's Chris Kohler writes:
The [Congressional] hearings were largely a response to the popularity of... Mortal Kombat...
Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln and Sega vice president Bill White took potshots at each other during the hearing. Lincoln said that the Sega CD game Night Trap, another photorealistic, occasionally violent game that the company had rated MA-17, “simply has no place in our society” and testified that “small children” had bought it.
Meanwhile, White’s position was that Sega was more responsible than Nintendo, because his company had [its own] rating system in place... [Connecticut Sen. Joe] Lieberman would later express his shock that the two executives went after each other with such ferocity.
Lieberman's threat to regulate game content via legislation persuaded the game biz to get its act together. The IDSA (now known as the ESA) was formed and quickly set up the ESRB, which went into operation on September 1st, 1994.
So you'd like to put on a July 4th fireworks show for your crew but lack the...
No problem. As Oh Gizmo reports:
Sega’s got a new projector coming out... it will project a pre-programmed fireworks show on the ceiling or walls of your home, and that you’ll be able to design your own show from a library of 55 different virtual pyrotechnic displays. It will be powered by 3xAAA batteries so the projector is most definitely portable, and it will retail for about $160.
Unfortunately, the device won't launch until August, so this idea will have to wait for your Independence Day, 2010 bash.
Norway's King Harald V stepped in recently when a six-year-old boy sought to change his name to "Sonic X."
As reported by Gamezine, the lad, whose given name is Christer, wrote to the King with his request:
Sadly, the King could not change Christer's name, but not because the change would result in a child running around with a ridiculous video game character's title. No, the request was rejected for the sole reason that at six-years-old, Christer was not old enough to make such a decision. Thus, the boy must contact King Harald V in twelve years time once he's turned 18.
Christer admitted that he was disappointed...
Sega is apparently sending the lad some Sonic-themed swag to ease his disappointment.
An Australian parents' group is protesting the MA15+ rating assigned to Wii zombie shooter House of the Dead: Overkill.
The gaming industry has been mischievously misrepresenting the classification system on this issue. I feel very distressed that a large number of teenagers and adults would play this game and soak up this amount of sexually aggressive violence and aggressively violent language.
We need to draw a deep breath and look at the research, which will show a need to scale back this level of violence.
Given the increasing amount of knowledge now available of the effects of exposure to intense levels of violence on the adolescent brain, we should be reviewing the level of violence the MA15+ classification now allows.
Conway also called for additional research into the impact of violent games on players. Last year, Conway claimed that violent games would turn troubled kids into "lethal killers."
Sega spokesman Vispi Bhopti defended HOTD:O, however:
House of the Dead: Overkill has been rated as suitable for people over 15. It is not an R-rated game. The swearing in it is very much stylised so it matches the Grindhouse cinema style made famous by director Quentin Tarantino.
In playing the game, players attack zombies or humanoid characters but never humans. This is an important distinction that the classification board makes when it gives a rating.
Kudos to Sega Europe chief Mike Hayes.
While Take-Two CEO Ben Feder and other video game industry moguls have been doing a great deal of whining about used game sales of late, Hayes has opted for a rational, consumer-friendly approach.
gamesindustry.biz is featuring an interview with Hayes, who explains his common-sense view of the used game issue and says that he wants to avoid "relationship damage with the consumer."
Here are Hayes's used game comments:
Right now it's probably not on our top ten list of things that we need to take action and be concerned about. The whole second-hand games market is one of those very, very sensitive areas that I've got to say Sega keeps a pretty low profile on - and I'll tell you why. I know that there are publishers that are vehemently, aggressively against it.
My reluctant view is that while I can understand that, if publishers were to try and enforce a non-second-hand market to the consumer, I think there would be relationship damage with the consumer. Of course, commercially, do I support it? Of course not, and I have to think here of the 650 people we employ at Sega Europe.
However, do we have a successful business working with the retailers that offer that service? Yes, we do. So would I ever join a campaign to get it stopped? The answer is no. Do I like it? The answer is no. I may be sitting on the fence here, but there needs to be a bit of reality on the market.