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Sega FY1997 Brand Review

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jul 3, 2023.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    nifty
     
  2. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    We've hit the big time boys. MSN has noticed us.

     
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  3. Black Squirrel

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    There's talk of supporting brands like Vectorman and Bug, so it likely means "a third Vectorman game" rather than something specifically called "Vectorman 3".

    Incidentally there's talk of a PC version of Vectorman (1) and a place for it in their E3 booth design.

    If someone was really clever they could piece together footage and see how much of this plan held up. Plenty of games set to be shown in that booth that were never released.

    There wasn't a radical change in layout:
    https://segaretro.org/File:E31996_Inside_2.jpg

    This is the bottom right of the map - you can see the six SONIC booths, Working Designs, and World Series Baseball II. Seems like they upgraded the NiGHTS exibit at the last minute.
     
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  4. That was the game the CS team were down to port, before being asked to make Daytona USA CE.
    Maybe it could have been a code name for what became Sonic R
     
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    A few years ago I started dumping Sega-related promotions over here. Because sometimes it matters (e.g. Sonic 3 being rushed for McDonalds).

    We've never had this level of detail when it comes to promotional campaigns before. Obviously Sega of America were keen to get their brands all over the place, and there was always something running, which is fine, but I can't prove most of these promotions actually happened.

    This was likely compiled at the beginning of 1996, so the January/February promotions had already run (or were running) - those are relatively easy to find. The later ones are obviously quite vague, but I thought the internet was more obsessive than this.


    I mean I found watermarked scans of cereal boxes. Who keeps, scans and then watermarks boxes of cereal?


    I don't have high hopes for the Sega-sponsored sausages turning up.
     
  6. MSX

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  7. Black Squirrel

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    This "Microprose NFL" is an oddity.

    Clearly Sega screwed up big time with this. They knew better than anyone that American football was big business in video games, but they seemed incapable of producing such games for the Saturn.

    New NFL seasons start around September, with Superbowls usually taking place in February. Video games usually release before Christmas, and concern the current (running) season. They won't know the final result, but they'll know roughly what the teams looked like at the beginning, and that's good enough.

    You have to be quick, because if you miss Christmas, you'll be launching with most of the season having ended, so in addition to missing out on the shopping season, you're covering an event that's happened, which is apparently bad. Better to update the roster and try again next year.


    Sega failed to get an NFL game out for Christmas 1995. They were meant to have one:

    [​IMG]
    Prime Time NFL Football Starring Deion Sanders (Saturn)

    But it didn't launch. And neither did its 32X counterpart. The Mega Drive one did though.

    I don't think we know who was making this game, but it was almost certainly axed on quality grounds. Madden slipped too, so the PlayStation was therefore able to run rings around everyone with NFL GameDay.


    You would think Sega Sports priority #1 would be to fix this issue for the following year. Get a new developer from somewhere (because I'm guessing SoA weren't prepared to develop a game internally), then put something together. It looks like they went with MicroProse, who spectacularly failed to deliver, and were forced to go with plan B - grab a third-party project and re-brand it as NFL '97.

    And you can tell everyone hated plan B. I know nothing about these games and even I can tell both Madden and GameDay look better.

    Would a finished MicroProse version been a better choice? Also did you know MicroProse made American football games? Because I didn't until today.



    This was their last attempt: Ultimate Football '95 for DOS. If you were still mesmorised by 3D it would have been fine, but it's clearly not good enough for the consoles. To put this into perspective:


    Madden 97


    GameDay 97


    NFL 97

    And there were other third-parties in on this too.


    More fun: "Worldwide Soccer II" had very few problems according to this folder. That one, which became Sega Worldwide Soccer 97, was developed in-house by Sega of Japan and yeah, widely praised, even moreso than some of the Western-developed PlayStation titles. 3D models and everything.
     
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  8. Chimpo

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    I need to go through this. I wonder if there's any mention of Capcom products
     
  9. Linkabel

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    I do remember the Oscar Mayer Vectorman commercial.

    Most of the Sonic stuff did materialized, but not sure what Sonic Land Speed is.

    I do remember the Cherry Coke Sega sampler promotion.

    I'm assume the Foot Locker thing are the coupons and deals that came with Sega Sports games, this lasted all the way to the Dreamcast.

    The Sega Sports shoes did exist.

    Those are some that I remember off the top of my head.
     
  10. I think this also shows how Tom did like to spin it in recent times. Those emails do not come across as a man not happing at SEGA and fighting SEGA Japan, a man who thought the Saturn was a pile of crap on day one, was going to hand in his notice after being told to launch the Saturn early, was told to kill EC and focus on Virtual Fighter 2, wasn't allowed to make an NFL game Ect, Ect...

    It shows that SEGA wasn't quite making the massive losses with each Saturn sold that some made out. It's so sad that SEGA Japan looked to boot Hayao Nakayama out, which is really why Tom looked to leave SEGA. Hayao Nakayama and Tom would have done a much better job with the Saturn in later years than Bernie IMO for all his faults, Tom wouldn't have upset 3rd parties and looked to bring over Japanese games and no doubt, the likes of Grandia

    It's just a shame Hayao Nakayama and Tom Kalinske bled cash flow, which is most prob the real reason why Isao Okawa wanted them demoted
    If only we didn't have that bloody call for the 32X, things could have been so much different

    Maybe what would become Sonic R
     
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  11. Black Squirrel

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    Most of this is from the first half of 1996, back when there was still hope. I think E3 1996 was the real wake up call.


    Anyway I've tackled a good chunk of this - mostly dates and prices, and projects we hadn't heard of. However, our history pages need updating. Even before these scans, were were missing some recent revelations - it needs volunteers, because I don't have time to be on top of it all.



    I particularly like the way that when I'm looking something up, I'm finding news reports on Sega Retro having mirrored this document. But for the avoidance of doubt, GoldenDreamcast and archive.org are the real heroes - I just added an OCR layer.

    (though it is amusing that someone mirrored the mirror)



    RE: undocumented promotions and sponsorships:

    Sega made a big deal about having a booth at "Lollapalooza"... and again, I can't prove it happened. But they did show up the previous year in 1995, as this single, miserable photograph suggests:

    [​IMG]
    https://mediamadegreat.com/lollapalooza-94/
    (it's even mislabled as 1994)

    and this cutting on ebay:
    [​IMG]

    Things I don't understand #34289023: people chop up magazines and sell individual pages. And others buy them.


    I haven't heard of Lollapalooza until today, but at the time it was an annual indie(?) music tour that went to 25 US cities. The two images above (and an old press release) are the only evidence Sega were involved in 1995. I've found literally nothing for 1996. Great job on the whole "marketing" thing, Sega.
     
  12. Asagoth

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  13. wonder-inc

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    I strongly doubt it. Sonic Land Speed is referring to something license related. And it's mentioned to start in August 96. Sonic R didn't even start development until February/March of 1997.

    I will post my own findings from the document. Will check here for prior comments to make sure nothing I post is redundant.

    - Interestingly in the price listing in the document a SEGA Nomad was listed to be for 179$, which in two to three months after the document's writing, would be just 20 dollar cheaper than a Saturn.

    - Perhaps, more astonishingly a 32X at the time was retailing for 79$ and still failing to sell through, despite being cheaper than the 99$ Game Gear.

    - I'm trying to remember where I read/heard this but it was from someone at SEGA of Japan, but I remember reading that the SEGA Pluto was something SOA asked for, despite the Japanese team knowing it would be too expensive to sell anyway. This document's suggested 550$ price tag for it confirms it.

    - From what I gathered, it seems SEGA's general pricing plan by this time was to sell the *then* 299$ Saturn at 249$ during April, and to then cut it down to 199$ in time for release with NiGHTS and the Model 2 system in that region. Sony ended up undercutting them by discounting their console to 199$ during E3 96, forcing SEGA to follow suit. As such, I don't believe the Model 2 console released with any sort of specific advertisement towards it as initially planned it seems.

    - They mention having a theme planned for each month, such as a NiGHTS theme for September, a fighting theme for October, and a Sonic theme for November. Which I don't believe ended up carrying through? Could be wrong though.

    - Virtua Fighter Animation is listed a few times as being a Mega Drive title (as Azookara also pointed out), I'm assuming that is more likely a communication error and not that Virtua Fighter Animation actually had a MD counterpart that got cancelled. Chances are that (like the 32X version of VF) what ended up becoming the MD version of VF2, was likely in my guess something SOA asked SOJ for. This seems further supported by a line that says "Push SOJ to approve local development of Virtua Fighter." in regards to Genesis recommendations.

    - There's a page for World Series Baseball 2 where SOA wanted the game ready by July 9th, whereas the date they were provided was September 29th. The game ended up coming out on August 24th.

    - It seems that as of the 9th of January, 1996. Daytona USA had 139k copies sent to North American stores, with only 83k copies of those being sold. With Sega Rally being the second highest at 126k copies sent and 33k copies sold. (Credit to Gryson for the correction).

    - Unbelievably, SEGA had 277k copies of Sonic 2 on Game Gear still in the inventory by Early 1996.

    - 32X only sold 97k consoles in North America in 1995. By comparison, the Saturn had sold 237k consoles in North America by January 1996. (Credit for correction goes to Gryson.)

    - Something interesting they mention is that VF Animation is difficult to sell in North America with specification of both the show and the game seemingly out of violence concerns. I find this rather peculiar considering both the show (1995 anime program) and the game are both ridiculously tame in that regard.

    - There's a section criticizing the inferior state of Psygnosis games on Saturn, specifically Wipeout and Destruction Derby. The latter's shoddy state at release is most likely why it ended up not coming out in North America. ~~Seriously Wipeout is a way better port.~~

    - Interestingly, when discussing the Saturn's software strategies for the future, they mention emphasizing on polygonal 3D games over sprite based games. That was before Bernie Stolar worked at SOA.

    - To my shock, Virtua Fighter RPG (Ended up becoming Shenmue) is mentioned on the 1997 Saturn calendar titles. One might think this is an error, but keep in mind that same calendar also includes a title in Sep.97 listed as "TBD "Like D" " For those unaware, that title ended up becoming Enemy Zero and it did release in late 1997 in Western regions.

    That's most of my notes, I will call it a day for now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2023
  14. LockOnRommy11

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    I’d heard of this (named Hullabooloza) from The Simpsons episode, where, IIRC, Homer goes there to get a cannonball to the gut as part of his own act, which almost ends up killing him. I always imagined that, from the episode having Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, Cypress Hill, etc that it was a fairly well known and popular event over in the US that tried to capture and help define the zeitgeist for the youth of the time.

    With that said, I learned it from a cartoon, so take from that what you will :V
     
  15. Gryson

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    Let's be careful with the numbers - I'm worried that the internet is going to be full of wrong info from this document.

    There are two pieces of info being reported for the sales: sell-in and sell-through. Sell-in refers only to product that is going to retailers. Sell-through refers to product that is actually purchased by consumers.

    Daytona USA had a sell-in of 139k, but a sell-through of only 83k (pp. 74-75). Big difference.

    More severely: Sega Rally Championship had a sell-in of 126k, but a sell-through of only 33k! That was a disaster (and later in the document it was identified as a high risk title for excess inventory).

    The Saturn had not sold 558k consoles in NA by January 1996. You're looking at the total sell-in for Sega Sports software titles (p. 74). The Saturn's sales numbers are given on pp. 66-67. By the end of 1995, the sell-in was 340k, but the sell-through was 237k.
     
  16. wonder-inc

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    Ah my bad. I would like to thank you for being in depth with the corrections and clarifications on where I went wrong. I will correct my original post accordingly.

    In the case of Daytona for example, I had understood that SEGA were disappointed because of their 139k sell-in falling short of their expected FY96 figure of 200k. Of course, feel free to correct me if I'm off on that too. Because it does seem now to me that's more in relation to the sell-through figure being a much lower figure.

    Ah got it now.

    Yeah now I see where I was confused. It was labelled as just "Sega Saturn" so I thought those were the software sales compared to the larger hardware sales.

    Once again, thank you for your time in clarifying this. I appreciate it.
     
  17. Gryson

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    From Sega's perspective, both sell-in and sell-through are important and reveal different things. If the sell-in is lower than predicted, then retailers aren't as interested in your product as you hoped (based on their own projections, initial sales, etc.). If you planned on selling 200k copies but only sold 139k, then retailers don't think your product is as hot as you expected and you're stuck with excess inventory.

    Sell-through is more complicated since the product is still fresh and current. It's not unexpected that the sell-through is lower than the sell-in. Consumers are still buying the product, and there's still a chance retailers sell out. However, if the sell-through is MUCH lower than the sell-in, as with Sega Rally Championship, then you know the product is a dud and is just sitting on shelves. However, the ideal is that the product sells out early (proving that your initial projections were accurate and retailers were wrong) and retailers put in orders for more. That clearly wasn't happening with Saturn software.
     
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  18. Hivebrain

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    My first thought was the supersonic land speed record set by the ThrustSSC, but that was in 1997 and not sponsored by Sega as far as I can tell.
     
  19. Oh hey, my knowledge of American Music Festivals comes in handy here! Lollapalooza was a huge music festival in the 90's, Wikipedia says it started in '91, several popular bands would play at the show. It's a really odd choice for a place to put a game kiosk; given the fact it's a concert and all you won't be able to hear much of anything from the games and the people aren't coming there to play video games, you know? Lollapalooza was a big part of the alt rock and grunge movements early on, but they had more and more pop-style acts on over the years and by '97 it was clearly past its peak. The people behind the festival couldn't find a headliner act for a planned '98 show and it was cancelled.

    Wikipedia says that show was revived in 2003 and continues to this day, but I don't remember reading news of it at the time and I had always assumed it was something from the 90s that died off and never came back.
     
  20. Sixfortyfive

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    "Sonic (STI)" shows up on the preliminary FY1998 calendar on page 200 with a Nov 1997 release date, but I'm assuming that this is a vague theoretical placeholder of a game that never even remotely materialized, and not Sonic Xtreme. Xtreme still seems to be operating under a planned Nov 1996 date here (page 196), even though it's confusingly using "Sonic 3D" as a working title. The FY1998 calendar is full of things like "VF RPG," "Virtua Cop 3," "Arcade Racing 1 & 2," and other stuff that was either canceled or moved to Dreamcast by the time any of it actually started to form into tangible projects. Even though development of Xtreme did slip into 1997, these docs would've been put together before the delay and the decision to up-port 3D Blast in its place for 1996, yeah?