Following the recent Sega Sports Summit, Sega of America President Peter Moore took the opportunity to address the assembled media on the future of the brand.
It has been an interesting time of transformation for all of Sega?s multi-faceted business, and one of the only grey areas has been the somewhat overlooked Sega Sports division. Moore decided it was time to throw a bit of light on the questions that had been brewing on message boards around the world.
First up was Tennis 2K2. When asked about the future of 2K2, known as Power Smash Tennis in Japan and Virtua Tennis over here, Moore had a big announcement. The game was thought to be a Dreamcast exclusive, but apparently not. ?I can announce this morning that Tennis 2K2, which you just saw there obviously on Dreamcast still in progress, will be coming to the PlayStation 2 and will be shipping within this fiscal year.? A good start, we?re sure you will agree.
And will V Tennis 2 have online play? ?Not yet. Let's talk about that for a second. As we are in transition away from Dreamcast, with all of the great work we've done with online, in particularly the work that Greg Thomas? team has done to pioneer online gaming particularly in sports, it means the pressure is now upon our new friends. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.?
What Moore means by this is that Sega Sports can provide the software to enable online play and can act as an advisory body to the main hardware manufacturers. It is up to them.
Moore goes on: ?We're going to deliver the Xbox online experience and I think that's going to be fabulous for sports. In particular, the hard drive - the ability to download stats. So when Marcus Camby is playing right before you, you could download where he's at, where the Knicks are at. The ability to update that information will be fabulous for sports games as that's a part of the game that has always been missing. We're looking for console gamers to drive sports gaming online for the next generation of consoles. We've already announced Phantasy Star Online Version 2 for Game Cube. PlayStation 2 is more of a hands-on market so I think we'll be able to make use of our online expertise that is clearly superior to anyone else in the marketplace.?
A fair point. Sega does have the most comprehensive knowledge of online gaming in the world. The ?in at the deep end? strategy employed with the Dreamcast, though disastrous at the time, might just pay off as Sega emerges as the world leader in online console gaming. Square and its new PlayOnline service, due to begin beta testing later this year, is Sega?s only competitor.
And what about cross-platform gaming? Moore simply says it?s in the hands of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. It will take them all to reach an agreement before Sega, or any one else, will make the investment in developing cross-platform solutions, as Moore explains.
?Cross-platform gaming is really in the hands of the platform holders. I think from our point of view, and when I go and listen to our folks in Japan who have a very strong interest in driving network solutions, not only platform specific but across multiple platforms, there's still an awful amount of barriers that primarily are in the hands of platform holders. Certainly, we would encourage it because as a publisher now, I think that allows our games to be played on a multitude of platforms and we truly believe in online gaming.?
Stay tuned for more from Sega.