Tag Archives: The Conduit

Sega Sees Q1 Losses: Is Hardcore Wii Route Still Best?

Sega Sammy issued its Q1 financial report ending July 31, delivering mixed results comprising a decline in sales and in losses.

The Conduit is another of Sega's experiments with the Wii's slim, potentially growing hardcore base.

The Conduit is another of Sega's experiments with the Wii's slim, potentially growing hardcore base.

The company’s net sales struck 60.4 billion yen for the quarter, down by 19 per cent from 74.6 billion on year-on-year comparisons. Operating losses improved from 10.2 billion yen in 2008’s comparable quarter to a loss of only 7.8 billion yen in 2009. Net losses decreased to 10.2 billion yen during the quarter, down from 10.5 billion yen year-on-year.

The questions one must ask, and Sega has yet to answer, is whether its mature game strategy on Nintendo’s Wii system is paying off and has a future, and whether other games in its profile (fitness, Sonic, etc.) can continue funding mediocre results.

Games released during this quarter included The Conduit (with an unimpressive 150,000 units sold through), the multiplatform title Virtua Tennis 2009 (with a solid 790,000 units sold through), and PSP title Hatsune Miku – Project Diva (at a better than decent 90,000 units sold through).

The arcade division saw major sales drop-off from 13.7 billion yen in 2008 to 7.8 billion yen this quarter; operating income declined from a profit of 700 million yen to a loss of 1 billion yen.

But thank the gods for Pachinko!

Sega’s bread and butter Pachinko business gathered net sales of 19.6 billion yen, up from 12 billion yen  in 2008; and the business revealed an operating loss of 1 billion yen, an significant improvement on the loss of 4.3 billion yen over last year’s losses.

Can Alien Vs. Predator, Alpha Protocol, and the endless stream of Sonic games revise this financial picture?

I can say for certain that Alpha Protocol is an awesome, deep, and impressive action-RPG that should do well in a market where very few games are like it.

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Does Sega’s Conduit Send a Message?

The NPD’s sales report for the month of June doesn’t bode well for the highly publicized Sega shooter, the Conduit, a “hardcore” first-person shooter for the Nintendo Wii.

According to NPD, sales of The Conduit reached a mild 72,000 units during June. The NPD analyzed sales numbers from May 31 to July 4.

The Conduit is another of Sega's experiments with the Wii's slim, potentially growing hardcore base.

The Conduit is another of Sega's experiments with the Wii's slim, potentially growing hardcore base.

Does this send a message to Sega’s executive team, which is trying to crack the top-selling console’s large but casual base of gamers?

“In terms of top SKUs, The Conduit placed at number 25,” an NPD spokesperson told Edge-Online. He also noted the game didn’t break into the top five selling Wii titles in June.

It’s doubtful. Sega is still betting on Wii’s mature audience to broaden. Starting with House of the Dead: Overkill, which sold 45,000 units in the US after its release February, and following with the ultra-violent MadWorld, which debuted with 66,000 units this spring, was June’s The Conduit (72,000 units). The sales numbers of each game has slightly increased, but even by combining sales of all three, the sum total sales don’t add up to blockbuster status.

The Conduit's metascore was well below the vaunted 85% publishers aspire to.

The Conduit's metascore was well below the vaunted 85% publishers aspire to.

Sega appears undeterred. It announced at E3 09 development of No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, a sequel, and while we’re speculating here, you can bet there will be a MadWorld sequel.

Meanwhile, other publishers are following Sega’s lead by producing mature games on the Wii. EA is building a Wii-specific Dead Space version, Dead Space: Extraction, and Bethesda has stated publicly it plans making games for the Wii, whose estimated mature base is only 5%. Nintendo debuted its own attempt at mature games at E3 09 this year with Metroid: Other M, in development by renowned hardcore developer Team Ninja at Tecmo.

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Sega Opens Mature Gates on Wii

MadWorld: The most violent game ever?

MadWorld: The most violent game ever?

Risk, schmisk! Sega, the former hardware manufacturer of the Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast and known for risk taking in both hardware and software development, is rolling the dice again. With House of the Dead 4, then Mad World, The Conduit, and now Mad World 2, Sega’s risky business has opened the mature market in the Wii market for others to follow.

In an article today on GamesIndustry.biz, Gary Dunn, MD of European development for Sega, told the media outlet, “You have to push boundaries and explore. I think whilst MadWorld commercially didn’t sell what we were expecting I wouldn’t say it’s game over for mature Wii titles from Sega.”

In May, new publisher Bethesda has indicated that it’s interested in developing more mature titles on the Wii, the current console leader in the market, and EA has created a special, from-the-ground-up version of Dead Space to test the waters, too.

It will only be a matter of time before more publishers deep their feet in, too. Who’s next, Activision, THQ, Warner Brothers?

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E3 2009: My Top Five Most Wanted

assassinscreed2Four years after Microsoft jump-started the then-“next generation” of consoles, the video game industry has evolved in ways we just didn’t expect or foresee, from the DS’s and Wii’s explosive market dominance to the Apple iPhone’s game store to Sony’s difficult, third-place entrance.

This year’s E3 2009 will be more than a blip on the industry’s radar screen with what appears to be a handful of new hardware devices (PSP Go!), Microsoft’s and Sony’s Wii-wand counter devices, and highly anticipated games, from The Beatles Rock Band and DJ Hero, to BioShock 2, Borderlands, a possible new Kojima game, a potential Zelda title, and new offerings from more than 100 developers.

What do I want to see? Well, there are more than just five games (sorry, too many good ones to leave off my list), and here they are:

The Beatles Rock Band: In my mind this has the potential for being the most accessible, most sought-after music game ever. Because the Beatles’ music is so ever-green, singable, and diverse, everyone can pick up and play the songs on this game. Let’s hope MTV will publish the solo game separately from the game that comes with the instruments.

DJ Hero: The biggest wild card of the show, Activision’s dive into the music world with a turntable could prove either huge or disappointing. I would like to think it will become a massive success, opening up more musical games for gamers and wanna-be musicians. But I just don’t know how many people will truly jump on this. It’s success might take a few years. This risk reminds me of Activision’s embrace of the extreme sports world with its H2O division–which produced some great games, but ultimately only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater survived it all.

BioShock 2: Looking forward to it and how 2K Marin can take the concept and continue the energy and creativity of the first’s narrative and gameplay and build on it in a natural way. Even if BioShock 2 is just as good but no better than BioShock 1, that smells like success to me.

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Alpha Protocol: Obsidian Entertainment comprises more than a handful of smart RPG-loving kids from the old Interplay days of RPG supremacy, so this original new RPG should prove to be interesting, story-heavy, and fun at the very least.

Mass Effect 2: More alien lovemaking scenes, oh please? No really. I hardly have the patience for RPGs, so when I’m interested in a game like this, well, I don’t want to say it’s got to be good, but I’m saying something really close.

God of War III: The King Kong of action games is back for bigger, more insane scenarios and boss fights in the time of the Greek gods. There is very little not to like about this original, smartly designed games.

Assassin’s Creed 2: I’m looking forward to this in the same way that I appreciate ballet but have no deep interest in it. Assassin’s Creed was a pain in the ass of a game–however pretty it was–and I’m hoping this one will take the action farther and the make playing it more fun.

Alien Vs. Predator: Even if this game is just exactly what I think it is–aliens, predators and marines killing themselves in decent FPS–I’ll take it. The console world needs a some aliens and predator love, and if it’s even a decent game, I’m sure that it will be better than Turok. Oh, burn!

Bayonetta: The second and third Devil May Cry games were, respectively, terrible, and ridiculously hard, and the concept has grown old. Bayonetta looks like the new kid on the block with a heavy Japanese design (plus a female lead character), and the gameplay looks like it has potential.

The Conduit: Yes, a fun, serious FPS on Wii–with multiplayer!

New Wii Zelda: You might think that I have run out of things to write about,but no, a new Zelda game is always something to get excited about. Always.

Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 shirks the Call of Duty moniker.

Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 shirks the Call of Duty moniker.

Modern Warfare II: Yeah, you played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. You know what Infinity Ward can do. You’ve seen the NBA Finals advertisements. So yeah, it’s a no-brainer, must-have game.

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