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[转载] Sega's last stand

发信人: OhMyGod (Man in the Mirror), 信区: TVGame
标  题: [转载] Sega's last stand
发信站: The unknown SPACE (Fri Jan 24 21:17:27 2003), 转信

【 以下文字转载自 Game 讨论区 】
【 原文由 ayanami 所发表 】
Among those attending this past E3, there was little doubt that Sega
completely stole the show. An exciting mix of new concepts and stylish
games made for a booth that was packed with gamers all day, every
day. Nintendo's booth had quality titles but a low-key atmosphere,
while Sony's area lacked both product and people. The buzz that Sega
created was felt throughout the show floor Barely a month later, after
a huge push for Ulala and Co. at the show, Sega released Space Channel
5 amid an active TV and print campaign. The game is creative, hip, and
fun, the TV spots ads were visible, and Ulala had put just about
everyone under her spell during her coming out party in L.A.

The game debuted outside the top 25.

This is a prime example of perhaps the most disturbing sign of all for
Sega: their recent in-house software. It's been fantastic, and few
people have cared. Whether it is Space Channel 5 in the U.S. or Jet
Set Radio in Japan, Sega has been piling up critical praise without
the retail numbers to show for it. Considering the lukewarm support of
third parties, the moment that consumers cease to care about Sega's
own games just might be the moment Sega loses hope in the hardware
market.

With all these recent problems, it is becoming less and less likely
that Sega can survive as a hardware company.

Let's look first at Sega's own strategy for survival, centered on the
Dreamcast's unique network gaming features. The built-in modem and
fledgling SegaNet were lauded at the console's launch, but the delay
in their implementation may have stripped them of power with consumers
not because someone has found a better network solution, but because
the promise of new console technology has stolen the spotlight.

With their announcement of the PlayStation 2, Sony has effectively
shifted much of the discussion to post-Dreamcast levels of
technology. This is only reinforced by Nintendo's Dolphin and
Microsoft's X-Box, both of which promise to outperform the PS2, more
or less the Dreamcast. Who wants to play yesterday's games, even if
they can play them on a modem?

Also, console owners have yet to show any deep-seeded desire to play
their games online. The PC has cornered the market on the genres that
benefit most from online play, and reaction from console gamers to
titles such as Quake III Arena and Half-Life is likely to be tame
compared to their months or years-old PC releases.

Before people can play the Dreamcast online, however, they must own
one, and Sega's attempts at building an install base have been
hampered by poor sales in Japan. As happened with the Nintendo 64,
poor sales in Japan turned third parties away from the console en
masse attention against the next Sony console, and was able to ride
the strength of their first party licenses and an extremely strong
second party stable.

For a debt-ridden Sega, good games just may not be good enough anymore.

This summer, Sega took the dramatic step of spinning off their famed
AM development teams into independent units, capable of developing for
whatever console they chose. Yuji Naka, creator of Sonic and NiGHTS,
stated ,

Moves like this are necessary because the advantages that Sega has
over the PlayStation 2 are either being ignored by consumers or will
be better exploited by upcoming systems. Ease of development and a low
retail price are goals of both the Dolphin and the X-Box. The basic
truth of the console market today is that casual gamers are apparently
willing to wait through the last wave of PSX releases, and then
purchase a PlayStation 2. Sega, despite a quality line-up and
aggressive marketing, has been unable to drive a wedge in-between
those decisions.

    Sega previously encountered many of these problems with the Saturn
(and the 32X, and the Sega CD, and the Nomad, and the Game Gear), but
lived to fight another day. Why would a disappointing run for the
Dreamcast have deeper repercussions? Because the console market has a
new contestant: Microsoft.

    Once the X-Box is released, sometime in late 2001, Sega will have
the fourth best technology and the fourth best developer support, a
combination that will eventually prove deadly. Sega has repeatedly
stated that the Dreamcast was built to be a n console, with additional
hardware features being made available as gamers demanded them. None
of that will matter if no one buys into the first stage of said
evolution.

    Ultimately, Sega's last stand will be behind their fall line-up of
software, affordable price, and online capabilities. Games such as Jet
Grind Radio remain the most creative the industry has to offer, and
can be had for a steal next to the massive expense of a PlayStation
2. The Dreamcast's online features offer today much of what Sony has
promised years from now. A direct competition between the PlayStation
2 and Dreamcast would seem to give Sega plenty of openings.

    Sadly, the evidence has increasingly shown that consumers
literally aren't buying it. Only a retail backlash at the price of the
PlayStation 2 seems likely to drive much support in the Dreamcast's
direction, and the Nintendo 64 has a huge holiday line-up for those
who aren't looking to buy a new console just yet. Sega needs a game to
become a true phenomenon if it wishes to shove its way back into the
consumer spotlight. Until that happens, Sega once again finds itself
caught between generations, trying to market to gamers who are waiting
for what has been successfully portrayed as the tru e in hardware.

    Trends such as these are often self-fulfilling prophecies. Once
developers and gamers believe a system will fail, their own withdrawal
of support becomes the primary reason for that failure. As long as
Sega produces such quality software there will always be a prominent
place for them in the gaming industry, but when it comes to hardware,
it seems as if this may be the last holiday season during which Sega
can be seen as viable competition.

from GIA

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