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1997: January February March April May June July August Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

News From March 1997:

Konami Ditches SegaTop

Today, Konami has announced that they will increase the number of N64 and Playstation titles produced while keeping the number of Saturn titles the same. Considering Konami's past support of the Saturn, I expect to see a few (if any) new Saturn games in the States and a several in Japan (that will never be brought to other countries). I think its disappointing that 7 million+ user base isn't enough justification for such a large company to make games for. Konami expects to get better sales in the much more crowded PSX market BTW (laugh). To me, more competition means lower prices which translates to lesser profits. So, why not bring more Saturn titles abroad, especially those that have a huge demand like Policenauts and Suikoden?

Borrowing Another Exec...Top

Sega of America Monday announced that Shuji Utsumi joined the company to head software product development for Sega's video game consoles.

As vice president and general manager of product development, Utsumi will direct all game development efforts at Sega of America and will manage the company's relations with independent video game developers. He will also lead product development for Sega's first networked console games that will be played on the Sega Saturn Net Link, a video game console with Internet access and on-line gaming capabilities.

Most recently, Utsumi was vice president of product licensing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. Prior to joining Sega, Utsumi was a part of the management team that launched the Sony PlayStation, serving as vice president of product licensing and manager of strategic planning for Sony Computer Entertainment America. Before that, he spent eight years with Sony Corp. in Japan and Sony Corp. of America holding many positions in corporate planning and business development.

Stolar Is Now COOTop

Sega of America (SOA) today announced that Bernie Stolar will be responsible for Sega's North American consumer business operations as the company's new chief operating officer (COO). Most recently, Stolar was executive vice president of product development and third party licensing at SOA and president and COO of Sega Entertainment, Inc., which publishes PC games based on Sega's arcade, sports and character properties. Stolar will retain his position as president and COO of Sega Entertainment.

Departments reporting to Stolar include sales, marketing, operations, information technology, finance, communications, product development, third party licensing and product licensing. Stolar will report to the company's chief executive officer and chairman Shoichiro Irimajiri, along with the executives who are responsible for legal, administration and business planning departments.

"Bernie brings more than 20 years of video game industry experience to this position," said Irimajiri. "His knowledge of game development, combined with an intuitive understanding of what motivates the gaming audience, will be a tremendous asset for Sega as the video game console business expands in the years to come."

HudsonSoft & Avex to Make Saturn GamesTop

From Nikkei English News:

Sega Enterprises Ltd., Hudson Soft Co. and Avex D.D. Inc. will develop software for Sega's 32-bit Saturn home video game machine, the companies announced Thursday.

The three firms aim to use their expertise to attract young people by writing software using animation, computer graphics and the latest music.

Virus is a cyberspace science fiction video game featuring battles between criminals and detectives against a 22nd century backdrop. Characters express emotions through facial animation and computer graphics are used to create realistic surroundings.

The theme music will be written and performed by artist Favorite Blue, which may later be sold as a soundtrack CD. The game, scheduled for release in August with target sales of more than 1 million, may also be featured in comic books and TV animations.

Sega to Cut Software PricesTop

Sega Enterprises Ltd said on Thursday that it would cut prices on five of its game software titles by about 50 percent from April 25.

The titles, which are compatible with the company's 32-bit Sega Saturn game machine, will retail for 2,800 yen [~$23 US] after the price cuts, a company spokesman said.

The cuts are aimed at boosting sales of Sega Saturn game consoles, he said.

The company plans to cut prices on other software titles later in the year, he said.

Upgrade Info FollowupTop

Sega is expected to announce the 64-bit Saturn upgrade sometime this month. The target price for the upgrade is $70-$100 US which would include Virtua Fighter 3. Most likely, the announcement will coincide with the initial showing of VF3 Saturn this month.

Tomb Raider 2 InfoTop

It has been reported that Core will use the Saturn upgrade card for the Saturn version of Tomb Raider 2. The version would include beefed up graphics over the PSX version.

Syndicate Wars CancelledTop

Earlier this week, Bullfrog announced that they have ended development of the Saturn version of Syndicate Wars. It is sad that such a great game won't be coming to the Saturn. I find that it is more likely that the developers were behind on the console versions and the corporates decided to cancel the Saturn version and put full effort on the PSX version. I guess 7 million Saturn owners isn't enough anymore to get games. I have contacted Bullfrog and hope to get the full story shortly.

Saturn Shipments to DecreaseTop

Source: Nikkei English News

Sega Enterprises Ltd., which has seen sales stall for its hardware in Japan and abroad since the start of the year, plans to cut shipments of Sega Saturn 32-bit video game machines to 3-4 million in fiscal 1997. The move is aimed at balancing turnover of the machines with that of software titles, which are currently selling briskly and boosting profits for the firm. Sega says it does not plan to lower prices on the machines.

Sega of America is the arm of Tokyo, Japan-based Sega Enterprises Ltd. responsible for the development, marketing and distribution of Sega videogame systems and videogames in the Americas. Sega Enterprises Ltd. is a $3.6 billion company recognized as the industry leader in interactive digital entertainment media, and is the only company that offers interactive entertainment experiences both inside and outside the home. Sega of America's World Wide Web site is located at (

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