• Sega

    by Published on May 7, 2010 03:19 PM
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    2. Sega

    It's hard to imagine that there are still brand new Dreamcasts floating around out there somewhere, but Amazon apparently found a stash of them. Perhaps they were buried in a time capsule, or part of some kind of liquidation after Sega's recent restructuring, who knows?! The important part is that they exist, and you can buy one.

    As of right now, Sega's iconic video game system can be yours for the price of $88.99, sold and shipped by Amazon.com (not a third party). While the price may seem a bit steep for an 11-year-old piece of gaming hardware, let's face it, we're talking about one of the greatest consoles of all time here.

    Better hurry, though, as this is quickly becoming mainstream news and is beginning to show up all over the net. These probably won't last very long. Hit the link to check it out, or the Dreamcast will take control of your home electronics and attack you with a passenger jet (as seen in this commercial):

    New Sega Dreamcast - $88.99 @ Amazon.com (UPDATE: SOLD OUT!)

    by Published on May 6, 2010 04:30 PM
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    2. Sega

    Gaming site 1UP has a new feature titled, "If We Ran the Industry"; a collective editorial in which they discuss how they would handle things if they were the ones in charge. For their first piece, they've outlined how they would save Sega from its slow, painful, impending doom (dramatization added).

    Their first suggestion? Make use of the many existing franchises that have worked in the past. While Sega has attempted to do this to some extent, the results have not been so great. Bad Sonic ports and Golden Axe: Beast Rider, which received a D rating by 1UP, are used as supporting examples.

    "Sega's been smart to stay away from making new consoles, but they just don't do their long-standing series justice," says 1UP Reviews Editor Justin Haywald.

    The article points out that even when Sega does something right, they just aren't getting the recognition and fans. There is certainly some validity there, as Sega has appeared to increase its frequency of releasing what most gamers would consider quality titles. 1UP contributes this lack of buzz to how Sega has treated its franchises and fans in recent years.

    "There's no reason Phantasy Star couldn't have evolved just like Final Fantasy, Shinobi just like Ninja Gaiden, or Sonic the Hedgehog just like Mario," says 1UP Editor Sam Kennedy.

    While the Phantasy Star series has made some of these evolutionary jumps, particularly with PSO and PSU, there is still a lot of potential there. Evolution, or even revival, of classic franchises is a common request from Sega fans. However, the fans also want a quality gaming experience when they are reliving this nostalgia and that is where Sega has fallen short in the past, tainting these franchises and disappointing fans in the process.

    Some 1UP suggestions were to hand off development of these franchises to up and coming development studios consisting of people who grew up playing them, or to simply take the time necessary to properly develop a quality game. Easier said than done in today's industry, I'm sure, but good suggestions nonetheless. One contributor to the article thought that Sega's recent restructuring and shift towards digital distribution may have put the company on the right path, while another thought they should dive back into the console market.

    Overall, it's an interesting three-page read of many different ideas and suggestions, all of which are geared towards restoring Sega to its former glory. Check out the full article and tell us which parts you agree or disagree with!

    by Published on May 6, 2010 02:47 PM
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    2. Sega

    Clumsyorchid, who we all know from Sega's official blog and Phantasy Star Universe fame, has posted some details regarding the Uniloc DRM system that will be used in the PC version of Alpha Protocol, Sega's upcoming third-person action role-playing game. Surprisingly, they seem to have struck a relatively fair balance in terms of DRM-imposed restrictions, something that PC gamers usually hate with a passion. Here are some of the details:

  • The game will use the Uniloc: SoftAnchor DRM system.
  • An Internet connection is required for activation (though they have a workaround for installing on PCs that don't have Internet access).
  • An Internet connection is NOT required to play the game.
  • The disc does not need to be inserted to play the game.
  • Game can be installed on an unlimited number of PCs over its lifetime and can be actively used on up to five PCs at any given time.
  • Activation licenses can be easily transferred between computers if you need to deactivate one installation and activate another (access to the PC you are deactivating not required).
  • A future patch (in 18-24 months) will REMOVE the DRM protection to ensure that you can still install and play your game down the road, even if the Uniloc servers are no longer available.

  • There seem to be some very reasonable compromises outlined in their DRM implementation. The removal of DRM protection with a future patch is definitely a welcome initiative and the requirements for playing the game are minimal. If this works well, I'm sure we can expect to see similar usage in future Sega titles.

    Is Sega setting a new example of reasonable digital rights management that other companies should follow? Post your comments and tell us what you think!

    by Published on Apr 23, 2010 09:26 PM
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    2. Sega

    According to a post made on the official PSU boards, the Sega staffers involved with running Phantasy Star Universe were not part of the recent Sega West cuts. Here's the scoop, courtesy of GM Edward:

    "To answer your questions, all of the staff you know through our blogs, forums, and PSU -- our Community team, in short -- are still here. So are the people who work on PSU, here and in SEGA Japan. And seeing as PSU very much falls under the category of a digital, social game, it's fair to say that this is a positive thing for our MMO future.

    I will say that today was a difficult day -- this is a business and re-organization is both vital and necessary, but there is a personal side to this as well, and on that front, today I had to say goodbye to a lot of bright and talented people I consider both friends and excellent colleagues. Business can be rough sometimes.

    But, I think it means good things for PSU, especially in the long run. This is an important game, both in terms of connecting SEGA's past to its present, and because it represents -- still -- a unique experience on the Xbox 360 and a special MMO title. There's still a lot of opportunity here, both now and for the future."

    This is great news for the Phantasy Star community and hopefully, GM Edward's optimism about the long term effects will hold true. Thanks to S-T-H for the tip.

    by Published on Apr 23, 2010 03:42 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Sega

    News recently broke that Sega West has undergone some significant restructuring in both North America and Europe. As part of its business reorganization, Sega West has reduced it's overall workforce by about 12 percent; resulting in layoffs of 36 employees from its San Francisco offices and 37 from its London division. According to sources reporting on the event, Sega is hoping the changes will allow them to better focus on their new digital division, which will be headquartered at their San Francisco office. Sega Europe will now be their hub for more traditional video game mediums.

    "We've been going through the planning process the past 6 months, taking a look at the future of the market and where we think our investments need to be. It's no surprise that the share of digital is growing as an overall part of the video game business, so we decided we have to invest more in that specific area, says Mike Hayes, President of Sega West, in a comment to IndustryGamers.

    Hayes goes on to talk about the company's growing interest in digital platforms, such as Facebook, iPhone, iPad, Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and Playstation Network (PSN). He also mentions that their current challenge will be doing more than just reinventing existing Sega IP. On that note, Hayes indicated that we should be seeing some original IP product announcements over the next few months.

    So, what does this all mean for the Phantasy Star franchise and other classic IPs? Only time will tell. Sonic 4 is still coming down the pipeline for XBLA and PSN this year, and the Supplemental Update for Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus is on the schedule as well for the Xbox 360. While it sounds like Sega West is very focused on branching out to new platforms with original IP, it stands to reason that we'll likely see a number of old favorites being reborn on these digital platforms as well.

    On a final note, our thoughts and best wishes go out to the Sega employees who were affected by these changes. Thankfully, it looks as though our friends on SoA's blog and community team have not been included in these cuts.

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