What first comes to mind when you think of Sega? Is it their old arcade games from the 60s and 70s? Their home consoles? Or is it the absolute masterpiece that was Micheal Jackson’s Moonwalker?
Chances are, your answer was “none of the above.” Instead, your answer probably involved a well-known hedgehog by the name of Sonic. Of course, everyone knows of their titular mascot. He’s the fast, fun-loving, blue ball of fur. Best known for collecting power-up rings, and defeating the notorious Eggman. But there’s more to this company than meets the eye. The story of SEGA is one of short-lived prosperity, uncharted potential, and a surprising loss of opportunity.
As much of a fan we are of Sonic, one has to wonder why SEGA isn’t known for more. To answer that question, we gotta take it back to the very beginning. This is the rise and fall of SEGA.
How it All Started
Surprisingly enough, SEGA started out as two different companies. Companies that didn’t even focus on video games. You see, in 1940 there was this small company located in Hawaii, called Service Games. They were best known at the time for selling slot machines and jukeboxes for the American soldiers. Soon enough the company relocated to Tokyo, Japan.
It was there when they met with another small American company, Rosen Enterprises. They ended up merging together, and forming SEGA Enterprises. The cool thing about this name is that SEGA is derived from the first two letters of each word in “Service Games.”
SEGA mainly operated in Japan but they also had headquarters set up overseas. Most notably, they had an American establishment. Throughout the 1960s, SEGA began to create their own arcade machines that were relatively successful. Expensive, but still proving to be popular.
As technology evolved, so did the company itself. In the 1970s, they generated a plethora of successful arcade games. Soon enough, SEGA wanted to dip its toes into the world of home consoles. This is where they started to face some trouble. You see, by the 1980s, the home counseling industry was crazily oversaturated. It was very hard for them to compete.
And still, with all of the competition amongst game consoles, there was one that stood on top. And you know it wasn’t SEGA. It was Nintendo. Nintendo was the main shareholder when it came to the video game consoles in the 1980s. For a long time, it has dominated the market. And for a while, SEGA wanted to create something that could compete with them.
Add even more fuel to the fire, Nintendo and Sega once released a new console same day. Though of course Nintendo’s gained much more success. Continuing to develop technology and games, SEGA experimented with multiple mascots that could potentially rival Mario.
Nothing truly stuck until they created what’s known in America as the SEGA Genesis. Probably their most successful gaming counsel to date. The SEGA Genesis was moderately successful at the time, though still didn’t sell too well.
SEGA realized that they had to bring something totally different and out there to rival other counsels. Something that would change the scope of their company forever.
Introducing: Sonic The Hedgehog
The original Sonic the Hedgehog is a platformer game, released in 1991. Though to understand how we got here, we must take it back to 1988. Remember when I said that Sega was in the interest of creating a character to rival Mario? Yeah well, this process went on for 3 years. And that’s where Sonic came in.
Sonic was created by Naoto Ohshima. His idea prevailed against the slew of suggestions involving armadillos, kangaroos, and squirrels. Basically, they wanted to create an iconic character, among the likes of Mickey Mouse.
Meanwhile, SEGA America was desperate to find a way to give it’s brand a leg up. They contacted Tom Kalinske; a well-known figure who’s worked in the toy industry, and knew quite a bit about product branding.
When offered the position as the new president of the American division, Kalinske was promised to have full control. He was to do whatever he wanted with SEGA America.
Now from my perspective, that sounds like a cool ass deal. I mean, the control freak in me LOVES the idea of power over everything. So of course Kalinske took the freaking deal. I would too. And once he got on board he made a total of 4 suggestions.
First, he wanted to throw out the current game that came with SEGA Genesis, and replace it with Sonic the Hedgehog. Then, he wanted to lower the price of the system overall. He wanted SEGA to rebrand itself as hip, cool, and edgy. And he wanted to create games that resonated with a western audience.
When Sega Japan got ahold of these requests, they HATEDit. Though reluctantly, they went through it with Kalinske’s plan.
Sonic was marketed to be the punkish rival to the goody-two-shoes Mario. And boy, did it work. Sonic is what games Sega its name. The company blew up with this new marketing strategy and its unique character. The Sega Genesis blasted its way into the mainstream gaming industry. Just as they wanted.
Of course, we wouldn’t be here today if things didn’t go astray. Unfortunately, things didn’t stay all that great for SEGA.
The Fall of SEGA
As technology continued to evolve, SEGA tried to evolve with it. They released numerous experimental projects, including the SEGA CD and the Game Gear. Most notoriously however, SEGA was very excited about releasing their newest console, the SEGA Saturn.
Perhaps the biggest setback what’s the constant head-butting between SEGA America and SEGA Japan. Back in America, Kalinske wanted to collaborate with other companies to improve on Sega Saturn. But SEGA Japan wasn’t really having it. They turned down multiple collaborations that would ultimately provide the hardware needed for a successful consolel release. Kalinske pushed for in offer with Sony. Show me wanted to manufacture a piece of Hardware with SEGA, and then proceeding to create games in collaboration with each other.
SEGA Japan, however, was stubborn. They had the idea for Sega Saturn, and they were sticking to that. Such a shame, really, because what Sony was creating ended up becoming known as the PlayStation.
SEGA vs. PlayStation
So, around the time of Sega Saturn, they were facing some pretty big, competition. In the American Market PlayStation was also advertising itself as edgy and cool. Only this time it was made worse considering the fact that PlayStations were targeted at older people rather than kids. This meant that they could advertise with munch raunchier content.
On May 11th, 1995, SEGA made a mistake at a Los Angeles video game conference. They excitedly announced the release of the Sega Saturn for $399. It was already on shelves, while the upcoming juggernaut that was PlayStation was still in the works.
What they didn’t think about was the fact that PlayStation executives had yet to make a speech. So, once SEGA got off stage, Sony was up next. The Sony spokesperson simply walked up on stage, and said this before immediately walking off;
In a way, SEGA never quite recovered from that ultimate diss. Yeah, it may sound like just a funny one off situation, but this is what set the gears in motion for PlayStation’s success. Due to the console not releasing just yet, they were able to build up hype and momentum. They also focused on tweaking their games and software so that it could compete with SEGA Saturn.
Safe to say, the gaming console which SEGA was so excited for flopped. And they missed a huge opportunity to work with Sony on developing the PlayStation. Not too long after this situation, Kalinske decided to step down. I would too, Kalinske. I get it.
It had a few other projects since then, such as the Dreamcast. But ultimately, they were not able to rival their competitors.
As of 2022, SEGA is known for producing video games. And that’s about it. No more consoles, and no more trying to outdo competitors. Instead they focus on their Flagship character Sonic the Hedgehog. They create games for many different platforms, including the Nintendo switch.
Sonic has honestly taken on a life of his own. He makes up the majority of SEGA revenue, with a long history of video games, comics, and even TV shows. Hell, SEGA was even willing to collaborate with Nintendo on multiple occasions. Anyone remember those Sonic and Mario games for the Wii? Cause that was the ultimate cross-over of my childhood.
Contrary to normal rise and fall stories, SEGA is still around and still achieving success in the industry. It’s just not what they were originally going for. And you know what? That might be fine for them. Rumor has it that SEGA Japan has a new console in the works. If these words are true, SEGA we’ll have a massive fan base ready for their return.
Venture Capitalists Still Pursuing Gaming Companies for Funding
Investors are rushing in to put their money into the crypto landscape. Proof of this is the popularity of play-to-earn gaming companies to these venture capitalists. Making news recently was private Silicon Valley venture firm Andreesen Horowitz (a16z).
The private company dedicated $600 million in funding to gaming startups to level up its stake in Web3 technology, $6 million of it went to startup Halliday. This lets its gaming patrons buy and use digital assets in the metaverse. Andreesen Horowitz wasn’t alone as Hashed, a_capital, and SV Angel also joined in on the funding.
Halliday and Other Gaming Companies
In a Halliday blog post, co-founders Akshay Malhotra and Griffin Dunaif expressed their gratitude to their new backers. They announced the upcoming launch of the first-ever solution that lets people have ownership of blockchain games and other metaverse assets using later payments.
From this, Halliday will be able to empower gamers by giving them access to ownership of game NFTs. Players will now be able to have a new gaming experience by letting them have a virtual avatar. They can also get distinctive skins as a way to express themselves or a great sword to finally beat the last enemy.
The founders also explained how Halliday would integrate with games and marketplaces as the alternative payment option at checkout. This will offer players a seamless method of securing ownership and paying for their NFT purchases over time.
They also mentioned how their solution would be easy and transparent with no surprises or hidden fees. This way, the players can start playing with their NFTs instantly. This will significantly cut down the players’ waiting time.
In an interview, Framework Ventures co-founder Vance Spencer said that gaming companies and startups are still a popular investment for many investors. He stated the reason for this is the three billion gamers in the world. In addition, the half-billion who earn less than $5 a day and have access to the internet.
Outside the Gaming Sphere
There wasn’t much commotion in the crypto industry outside the gaming sphere the past week. Notably, many investors are still seen committing to startups building their bases in the industry. Special mention is Brevan Howard Asset Management which raised more than a billion from institutional investors. This allowed them to launch the most prominent crypto hedge fund ever.
This, from a company that’s previously skeptical of the crypto industry. This latest development has implied that the European hedge fund will soon throw in more substantial support for the advancement and improvement of cryptocurrency startups.
In other news, decentralized BNB and Gnosis chain farming protocol, XION Finance also gave its statement. It announced the $50 million investment commitment it secured from GEM Digital Limited. The latter is a digital asset investment company based in the Bahamas. It claims to have investments in more than 30 utility tokens worldwide.
They are now planning to use the funds to offer everyday users the power to earn high yields. They will also give them the ability to trade assets between multiple chains. They will also be giving them the chance to invest in tier one projects, according to Ron Quarmby, founder and CEO of XION Finance and XION Global.
In addition, GEM Digital committed $25 million in funding to the multi-blockchain platform Geeq. This is the platform that uses a patent-pending blockchain consensus mechanism. Its CEO Ric Asselstine said that with the commitment, they would be ready to bring enterprises and individuals into the metaverse and Web3.
Its parent company, GEM Capital, says it is a $3.4 billion alternative investment group. It manages a diverse set of investment vehicles that have its focus on up-and-coming markets all over the globe.
Is the PSVR 2 Price Worth It, or Just Buy the PlayStation VR?
Sony hasn’t yet announced the release date of PSVR 2, leaving many Playstation fans wondering, is the PSVR 2 worth it or should I wait? Some think it is worth the wait with its hardware upgrade and compatibility with PS5 games. But since the PS5’s second anniversary is fast approaching, fans want to know more about the next model. Will it be an improvement, and have it fixed its predecessor’s issues?
To wait or to buy, that is the question
The big question of whether to buy a new virtual reality headset is still unanswered. Fans turn to rumors as expert analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young has hinted that the PSVR 2 will be released on Q1 2023. The delay may have been caused by the chip shortage or a PS5 console shortage. Whatever the reason, it’s still up to consumers whether to wait or buy now.
On the Playstation blog, they announced the next generation of PSVR. Sadly, Hideaki Nishino, the Senior VP of Platform Planning & Management, said there’s still a lot of development going on for their new VR system. Even the release date seems vague as Sony looks more concerned with producing enough PS5 consoles than announcing when it will be out.
The original PSVR is still working fine and is compatible with the PS5. You will need the free camera adaptor to connect it to your PS4 Playstation Camera. Also, you have to take note that there are no PS5 games that are compatible with the PSVR.
You will still need to play the PS4 games, which are backward-compatible on your PS5, if you want to use the headset. Because of this, i’s safe to assume that waiting for the PSVR 2 is the cost-effective choice.
The PSVR Price Tag
When it was launched in October of 2016, the price of the PSVR has not decreased much from its $399 tag. Currently, you can find special PSVR bundles with huge discounts. This comes with the PSVR Marvel’s Iron Man VR Bundle, which has an approximately $349 price tag.
If the release of the PSVR 2 in the first quarter of 2023 is true, then you will most likely find deals from the previous winter holiday season. Although there is no solid basis for the PSVR 2’s price, estimates are within the $399 to $499 range.
PSVR 2 Games
Although PlayStation fans are still in the dark about many other details, Sony has confirmed that there will be over 20 games available when the PSVR 2 is launched. At the 2022 business briefing, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has spoken about the investments they are making to secure third-party games with the existing first-party exclusives.
These include Pavlov Shack by Vankrupt Games and Low-Fi by Iris VR. Sony also recently announced Horizon Call of the Mountain, a new game exclusively built for the PSVR 2. Guerrilla and Firesprite are developing it.
Other PSVR Rumors
Other rumors include Sony’s attempt at reducing motion sickness with VR. In 2019, Sony filed a patent for a system that aims to lessen sickness with its head-mounted display. Another patent filed in 2020 shows how Sony wants to develop a technology that lets users experience sporting events live.
They call it the “insertion of VR Spectator in live video of live event.” This is to give people the experience of being in a live event without being there. They only need to wear their VR headsets. These patents, along with many others, keep fans excited and wondering, is PSVR 2 price worth it?
And for other news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!
Cyberpunk 2077’s Release Meant 75% CD Projekt Stock Falls
According to Business Insider Poland, CD Projekt stock falls after a disastrous launch and is now worth less than 10 billion Polish złoty (around $2.1 billion). This is because of the release of Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10, 2020. Before the launch, the Polish video game developer was valued at over 40 billion Polish złoty and was touted as Europe’s most valuable game company.
Currently, CD Projekt is trading at its 2017 value and is no longer Poland’s most valuable game company. Techland, the developers of the Dying Light franchise, has taken its place. Although its numbers aren’t traded publicly, it is still estimated to be worth approximately 10.6 billion złoty, says Polish-language daily newspaper Puls Biznesu.
The business newspaper said that the redemption of 15 million shares for a consideration of 900 million PLN (Polish zloty) resulted in a single share having a value of 60 PLNs. When you assume that the number of company shares was pegged at 175.94 million, the valuation of Techland will be at 10.56 billion PLNs.
The Cyberpunk 2077 launch was one that many fans were anticipating and excited about. It was talked about as one of the most critical releases of the last console generation. It was released alongside PS5 and the Xbox Series X. However, unexpected things happened, and the launch went terribly wrong.
The highly anticipated RPG for PC and consoles was released after three delays. It saw a slew of technical issues, which resulted in refunds. The game was then pulled out from the PlayStation Store because of this.
Patches were designed to improve the game but took the company six months. It then went back to Sony’s online marketplace in June 2021. This happened after CD Projekt stated that it believed the performance of Cyberpunk 2077 had reached a satisfying level.
In early 2022, CD Projekt claimed to have sold over 18 million copies of the game. They also announced that they are working on a significant expansion and a new storyline for Cyberpunk 2077.
CD Projekt Stock Falls After Disastrous Launch
To date, Cyberpunk 2077’s launch is probably one of the most disastrous events in video gaming history. This, after building up a tremendous amount of hype. Not only that, the game was full of bugs and traces of a rushed development process.
CD Projekt once enjoyed a first-rate reputation with its development of The Witcher 3. But now, it seems all is lost as their numbers have fallen short of the 25 to 30 million sales expected for the game in the first year of its launch.
Now, it seems that CD Projekt RED is at the same level it was after its launch of The Witcher 3. DLC for Cyberpunk 2077 is on its way but is still rife with problems. The studio has The Witcher 4 in its upcoming slate and is already in pre-production. However, the disaster it experienced in the launch made gamers back out and will probably take something unique to bring them back.
CD Projekt brings development in-house as a new generation patch for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is in the works. They have also taken in-house the development of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S editions of the game to complete it in time. Saber Interactive is handling the external development of the game.
They were the company that handled its Nintendo Switch port previously. Today, a new entry in The Witcher franchise is in pre-production.
To get back on track, the company should reconsider returning to The Witcher. The upcoming new entry in the series may just be the ticket.
And for other gaming news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!