SEGA and Mobile Development


The last game console I owned was a Sega Dreamcast. I didn't own it for very long because I don't really play console games all that much, always preferring instead my Gameboy. I do remember, however, long hours in front of the Sega Saturn in college and can still remember that "Saaayyy-GAaahhh" bootup sound which was awesome.

Anyways, since Sega's announcement last year that it was getting out of the console market and focusing on Games, they've made deals with just about everybody. The next GBA game I get is going to be Sonic Advance, because it looks really great. Sonic the Hedgehog on Nintendo! Who'da thunk?

So the big news today seemed to be Nokia's pending announcement of their Symbian based N-Gage game/phone. (This is definitely cool and has been expected for some time, but I'll wait until I can one of those bad boys in my grubby hands before I get too excited.) The thing that struck me was how this announcement and another one about Qualcomm and Sega teaming up for BREW-based games both relied on Sega's name to give legitmacy to the platform/technology.

If you look at Sega as just another game publisher - which is what they became when they stopped making hardware - you have to question whether they'll be able to survive not having their own console and competing with the biggies like Sony Entertainment, Electronic Arts and Nintendo. But take Sega out of that context and slap their name next to some mobile technology and suddenly it's a "real" gaming platform! It must be! Sega's making games for it! That's a cool trick that Sega played, don't you think? From small fish in a big pond to THE fish in a brand new pond. Way to go Sega!

I, of course, really dig where Sega is going with this plan. They're testing out the waters on a variety of mobile devices and could easily become the standard bearer for mobile games. Hell, Nokia is relying on their name and games to launch the N-Gage; I haven't seen a press release about it without them being mentioned. This is very cool. Now I hope that Sega can continue and use their expertise in game making and expand on that by adding connectivity.

Whether the Fins can make decent games, I have doubts, but Sega we all know can. Whether they grok the whole mobile/connectedness or not is another question. Sega could be stuck thinking in a single-person console mindset. If that happens, then both platforms are really going to suffer, since you can already get that from a lot of places - including my beloved Gameboy Advance, but for several hundred dollars less money. I really hoping that this isn't the case because some massively multiplayer mobile Sega games would ROCK.

More on the N-Gage when there's some real news... I'm very excited about it, but taking on Nintendo makes me wonder.


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