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Newsletter from 12-28-97
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12-28-97 { The Future, New Games, New Poll, Winter Heat in US, and more... }

Hello all!

The past week has been rather quiet as expected. As most people are on holiday. I hope you all have enjoyed this time of the year which now leads us to a new calendar year, 1998. This next year will be a curious one. With rumors of Sega's next system looming, a big question will be how the Saturn development community will continue to support the Saturn. In Japan, few problems are faced as several games continue to ship every week. However, in Europe and the US, the situation is unfortunately not so good. Aside from several major releases from Sega and releases appear to become more sparse, as developers have continued to decrease their support of the Saturn. Here are some of my thoughts of what next year holds for the Saturn:

Japan: Support will continue as will the release of details on Sega's next console. We can expect an even stronger import market; increased demand for Japanese titles as the release of titles elsewhere slows.

Europe: The folks at SoE have done a great deal in turning things around for the Saturn here. With the signing of many titles before SoA (such as X-men vs. SF, SFIII, and possibly Grandia) things are looking better. The NetLink will debut in Finland...but probably will not be released elsewhere in Europe due to high telco rates.

US: Lack of a proper marketing plan, poor management decisions and a rotating staff has created many problems at SoA. Only now do the people at the company seem to be listening to what their customers are demanding. Only now does it seem clear to them of what the _should_ have done with the Saturn instead of what they did do with the console. As Mr. Stolar's contract is ending, we can expect SoJ to replace many of the upper level executives at SoA...hopefully for the better. Many point to Tom Kalinske as a suitable candidate as the new head at SoA. Hopefully in the coming weeks we shall see who's staying and what SoA's plans are for the future.

Now on to the news, very little has happened. During last week, there was a flurry of articles about Sega and Ascii corp. Sega Enterprises and its parent company, CSK have decided to purchase a 40% stake in Ascii's stock. Sega paying 870 yen per share for 3.5 million shares which means about 3billion yen or $23million. CSK bought 5.5 million shares. A lot of money eh? At this time I can say little as to the results of this purchase other than Ascii's products will be much more prominent on future Sega systems. Ascii makes many things including books, many games and computer magazines (including Famitsu, Tech Saturn), software, and game peripherals such as controllers.

Sega of America has also quietly and not so officially announced the US release of Winter Heat! On their web site it appears at 'recently released' but this is not the case as the game is not even out in Japan. One can expect a February release, the same time as the Japanese and European releases of this game.

A few new games in Japan last week...Real Bout Special (SNK) and Akumazensho Vol. 2 (Atlus.) Real Bout Special is SNK's latest and perhaps last foray into the Fatal Fury series. The game uses the 1meg cart to assist in storing graphics. The game looks great and is close to the original Neo version..but the sound effects suffer a little. Maybe we're just getting spoiled by the 4meg cart which makes for arcade perfect ports? Akumazensho is Atlus' latest RPG game...its a compilation of demons and devils from previous RPG Soul Hackers.

No other releases to talk about this week. Also new after a long lapse is a new Saturn poll. Thanks to Sam who suggested a topic...about time I got around to making a new poll. The poll will be open for the next two weeks. Here's the topic:

While Sega has already announced that Shining Force III will hit the US in May, there now is the question as to a domestic release of Grandia. What game would you rather see in the US: Shining Force III or Grandia?

Vote at:

Reader response is very important...I'd like to see most people who read this list to take the few moments to respond. That's all this week, enjoy the rest of the holidays, cya!


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