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Newsletter from 06-23-1999
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06-23-1999 { New Releases, Updated Release Dates, News, and more... }

Hi all,

I wanted to start off with a note regarding last week's Model 4 'news'. If you've not read my followup to the newsletter on r.g.v.sega here's the deal: Hitachi's Gigalize computer line is no longer being sold. This leaves me with two conclusions, first the report of the Gigalize processor in the Model 4 boards is false. Or the name of the graphics chip has been confused or lost in translation. I am rather suspicious of the M4 report as there have been neither followups on major sites nor a formal announcement on SoJ's web site. I want to thank my contact at Hitachi for the info. I could not get any information regarding future products with Sega from him however.

The past week has been fairly quiet in terms of news...the long summer s finally setting in. Four new Dreamcast games should be available now, or by the 24th: King of Fighters 99, Shutoku Battle, Giant Gram, and Expendable. In terms of ratings, Famitsu rated the Genki's racer Shutoku Battle and Sega's wrestler Giant Gram scored the highest receiving 32/40 each. SNK's long running fighter KoF99 received another high score of 30/40. Expendable, a port of the PC shooter received a rating just above average of 26/40.

Along with these new titles, Sega hopes that the lower Dreamcast price will lure more potential customers. According to sales figures from early June, Dreamcast hardware sales are about half N64 sales. DC Software sales are even lower, accounting for only 4% while Sony continues to dominate with a 78% market share.

There are several causes, one is the fact that Sega announced the new price drops and customers are holding off until then. The other significant fact is that there has been relatively little new software. While the PSX has several new (new but not necessarily good) software titles every week, the Dc has had only four or so new games in May, and four more this month. Another is the simple fact that game sales have always dropped seasonally during the summer as companies work on their holiday release titles. Finally, some blame Sony's announcement of the PSX2. Though, I've not seen any real polls regarding this in Japan. On some major web site I think I read about an informal poll indicating that most surveyed on the streets of Akihabara were waiting for the future Sony console. Though, my problem was that their survey only had 12 people in it....

Many release dates have been moving around, two major titles have been pushed back. Climax Landers and Seaman are now set for a July 29th release. Speaking of future titles, transitions from PC to Dreamcast titles have been made easier with the release of Microsoft's new Dreamcast SDK. They claim games will be easier to bring over, and simplified integration of network features. Sega stated that they aren't interested in straight ports, but rather games that will take advantage of the Dreamcast's hardware. Three big PC titles that will be hitting the Dreamcast are Baldur's Gate, Slave Zero, and finally Rainbow 6. Slave Zero and Rainbow 6 are due out this Fall with Baldur's Gate being a more distant release. In somewhat related news, Electronics Boutique, a major US based games retailer, has announced that the Dreamcast hardware pre-orders have broken all hardware launch records. I think this announcement speaks for some who believe that the DC pre-sales figures from Sega were exaggerated.

Another upcoming title is Soul Fighter. Developed by Piggy Back, the game has been unknown until recently, and its looking very good. In short the game is easily described as Golden Axe brought into full 3D gameplay. The game even features a 1st person mode to use if one wishes. The game is currently set for a September release in the US. With the US launch, the US version of the DC will include some playable demos. Thus far only one is known, Midway's Ready 2 Rumble.

That's all for this week, see ya!


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