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Newsletter from 07-12-1999
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07-12-1999 { Where I've Been, Sega News, Releases, and more... }

Hello all,

It has been a few more weeks since the last newsletter. Sega news has not been lacking, but I have been without the free time and energy to write this newsletter. The past several weekends were either spent out of town or busy with family. I apologize for barely touching the site, and missing lots of news hopefully I will now be more able to maintain dEX. Many thanks for your continued support. I am u sing a new mailing program (again) so please let me know if duplicates or copies with the ends cut off are delivered.

Sales numbers from the Dreamcast price cut are now in, DC console sales jumped quite a bit to over 65,000 units during the week of the drop. These amounts were more than two times greater than PSX sales and more than six times greater than N64 console sales. With the price drop came several new releases, which also helped boost Dreamcast software sales greatly, to about a 21% share (Sony is still holding a strong #1 with 68%). Note that Reuters made a (big) mistake and mis-reported sales of 650,000 consoles versus the actual figure.

With the advent of 3D gaming the developing side of video games has been extended quite a bit as programmers begin to play with use of polygons and true 3D environments. Seeking to show people some of the techniques behind developing 3D games, Sega is working on a series of videos that help teach some techniques behind developing 3D titles. Showing different methods in developing 3D models, the tapes will feature Yu Suzuki and members of Sonic Team. They will be released at Joypolis in Japan.

Speaking of software development, today CRI (parent company of Sega Enterprises) announced a deal with Ligos Technology. CRI will be licensing Ligos' GoMotion MPEG encoding technology for the Dreamcast. The product is the first software only solution for real-time MPEG encoding. Ligos targets the software as a high quality, low-bitrate encoding solution that allows for full resolution DVD quality video. While the option of easily incorporating high quality digital video in Dreamcast games is nice, I wonder exactly how useful it will be in terms of interactivity. Perhaps the software will be restricted to use in cut scenes, or used in game previews, perhaps even made for use over the Internet.

In other news, Konami will be porting a large number of Microsoft games to the Dreamcast. In addition to Microsoft's Flight Sim, Konami will be bringing over: Age of Empires 2, Combat Flight Simulator, Midtown Madness, Monster Truck Madness 2 and NFL Fever 2000.

With the upcoming US release of the Dreamcast this fall, there has been much question as to the pack-in software. While software for Internet access is certain to be included, the games are the big question. Well, Sega of America has revealed the contents of their pack-in CD. It is a set of playable demos of titles that are for sale in the US, and some videos of upcoming titles. The disc contains playable demos of Cart Racing, Get Bass, The House of the Dead 2, Monaco Grand Prix Sim 2, Power Stone, Ready 2 Rumble, and Sonic Adventure. There will be videos of Hydro Thunder, Midway's NFL Blitz 2000, Sega NFL 2000, and Sega NBA 2000. The contents may change by the release, but we should see items similar to this.

Speaking of the release, US magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly has worked up a list of titles 'confirmed by developers' to be ready for a launch release. There are 23 games on the list, but they also state the usual remarks regarding release dates: development schedules and will fall behind. For a general idea of what to expect, check out the US release dates area at dEX.

Last week, Buggy Heat and Street Fighter Zero 3 were released for the Dreamcast. SFZ3 is what we all expect from Capcom's recent arcade->Sega ports. The title is very close to the original, and with the many features that are available right away (versus unlocked in the PSX version) its worthy of a good look for fighter fans. Buggy Heat is a graphically impressive game that has finally made it out after numerous delays. The game has a very polished look, and seems well worth the wait. Note that the gameplay is not easy, and is not arcade style, but instead is built around realism. One will have to practice and learn things before one starts taking turns like a pro. A variety of driving strategies are necessary to stay on the track which helps add to the longevity of the title. The game also shows of the Dreamcast's abilities running at a constant 60fps. It also has Puru-Puru pack support.

This Thursday we will see two new Dreamcast releases in Japan, the first is a 3D mech game, Frame Gride. This title by Fromsoft is a relatively straightforward action/battle mech game allowing one to upgrade their mech etc. The other is a sort of life sim called World Neverland Plus. Basically you lead the life of an average person in the game's world, the Waktic Republic. Both titles do not have VGA Box support.

Also on Thursday, US chain Hollywood Video will begin renting Dreamcast systems. The cost of the rental is $20US for two days, which includes the console and a game. Additional games can be rented for $5US each. Sounds like a good deal? Well, there is a catch, as with most game hardware rentals, one must put down a deposit to ensure that one doesn't just keep the console. In this case, a steep $350US is being charged. This price compares to $200 for PSX or N64 consoles. With a rental, gamers also get a coupon good for $10US off a DC console purchase price at Electronics Boutique. As an inverse deal, when one buys the console using this coupon, you get a rent one game, get another free coupon for use at H...Video. The first game available for rent is Sonic Adventure. There are conflicting reports that a future title will be Midway's Ready 2 Rumble. The deals sound like a good preview, but the possible problem is that the high deposit fee may turn away potential customers. Hopefully, in store demos will still help draw people's attention to the console.

Well, that's all for this week, see ya!


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