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Sega's quarterly report full of surprises

Virtua Fighter, Sega Rally, House of the Dead, Sonic and more

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Last Friday Sega delivered its quarterly report to stockholders, also broadcast live over the Internet, and the report includes a number of points relevant to gamers as well as those hoping to profit by them. For a start, the company focused on the widespread success of Virtua Fighter 4, AM2's beat 'em up of supreme technical artistry. It has apparently sold 1.5 million units. Somehow, the company has also managed to flog one million copies of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the Nintendo GameCube. But it's a port, I hear you cry! Equally impressive is 700,000 units sold of Super Monkey Ball. Back to VF and Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is headed to the arcades with some form of networking capability, but console talk is all hearsay at this point. Furthermore on the arcade front, Sega is shamelessly bringing out a global arcade version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" but can perhaps be forgiven thanks to its work on Triforce and Chiro arcade boards to try and smooth the transition between arcade and console. Games on both boards will translate to the Cube without too much trouble, they say, and Chiro games can go to the Xbox, too. Perhaps surprising is the company's announcement that it does not plan to release as many games this quarter, although for this writer, with no real festive season and plenty of lovely weather (touchwood) to distract from the TV this is understandable. On a generic note, the Sega Sports franchise is being angled as a direct competitor to EA Sports' line-up of software, which has weakened in recent seasons. The now-ESPN-branded Sega Sports line will match EA's release dates title for title in an attempt to prove who does it best. As much as we like Sega, we can see them losing this one, particularly since their most entertaining 'sporting' prospects, Beach Spikers and Soccer Slam, are not included in the Sega Sports line. Nevertheless, Sega does hope to make up for its shortcomings in some areas, and has announced plans to make a new simulation-based football game to compete with the likes of Konami. That too is an uphill struggle though, and one hopes AM2 won't be involved. Their dismal Virtua Striker series has proved the bane of many a football fan. Sega also plans to create a successor to the games in the Sega Rally series, but with the rally gaming market saturated at the moment (with good games to boot), this also seems like a daft ploy. Completing the slew of announcements, Sega will develop a new Sonic game (unsurprisingly), a new Shining Force game and a few other titbits, including an "overseas" release of a Sakura Taisen sequel, a House of the Dead survival-horror game [Sega, kings of innovation - Ed] and games based on the works of Japanese comic artist Osamu Tezuka. At the moment we do not know much about these games. Even whether the new Sonic will be another Adventure title is presently unknown. After the success of the Cube version though, it probably will be, but with any luck we won't have to face as much of Tails and Knuckles. It's a lot to take in, but then Sega has a lot to do this quarter. It bears mentioning that the company is also expecting two games delivered by the Capital Entertainment Group (Seamus Blackley's new venture) by the end of the year, with a huge E3 line-up already announced. As a fan of the company's work, I hope some of the decisions here will translate into decent products, but there is a strong "Dreamcast" vibe emanating from the projections here. Related Feature - Sega's E3 line-up

Source - IGN

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