The conversation was short. It went like this:
Me: Is Sega looking to get back into the hardware business?
He: Sega should get out of the software business.
Harsh. But what else is there to say really? For Sega, the early 2000s was a breathtaking time that found them overflowing with ideas (sometimes half baked, sometimes brilliant). Think of it: we saw Space Channel 5, Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, Phantasy Star Online, Samba De Amigo, Rez, and Super Monkey Ball within just 2 years. Stunning. Then it all fell apart.
Five years later, it’s hard to remember a time when Sega didn’t just churn out half-assed Sonic retreads and, oh yeah, ads like this. (If that mess is supposed to be a comment on male/female relationships, they’d do far better to follow Capcom’s lead.) But, then, maybe the backwards helmets is an analogy for Sega’s current business strategy: driving with the blast shield down.
That’s tough to take because Sega still shows periodic flashes of genius; typically courtesy of one Toshihiro Nagoshi (Daytona, SMB, F-Zero GX, Yakuza). But the spark really seems to be gone in most ways that matter. Was it the failure of Dreamcast? The awkward merger with Sammy? The death of long time benefactor Isao Okawa? It’s hard to say.
Regardless, I still have a warm place in my heart for the once American company called Service Games. To paraphrase James Murphy: Sega, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.
Find more Sega at Wikipedia.