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Article Title Date of Article
JAMMA Show Line-Ups September 18, 2000
New Game Pictures September 18, 2000
Capcom JAMMA Line-Up September 18, 2000
Aruze JAMMA Line-Up September 18, 2000
New Go Kart Game from Sega? September 13, 2000
Pokemon Coming Your Way September 13, 2000
Square NASDAQ Listing September 13, 2000
SNK Move to Tokyo September 8, 2000
Konami Raise Profit Forecast September 8, 2000
Konami Get Soccer License September 8, 2000
New Sega Game Pictures September 1, 2000
Ridge Racer V on PS2 Board August 31, 2000
New Namco Gun; Ninja Assault August 31, 2000
New Sega Coin-Op Games August 30, 2000
Capcom To Sell Direct August 30, 2000
Konami Get Ideas on Net August 30, 2000
Konami Sub To List on OTC August 30, 2000
Playstation 2 Euro Release August 15, 2000
Konami Licences B'ball to Sega August 15, 2000
Jaleco Bought By HK Net Co. August 15, 2000
Capcom Vs SNK Tourney August 15, 2000
Konami Eye Pachi-Slot Profits August 5, 2000
Shnjuku Joypolis to Close August 5, 2000
Konami & Euro Dancing August 5, 2000
Sega, Sony Invest in Dimps July 28, 2000
Konami Get T/France Rights July 25,2000
Crazy Taxi 2, V. Tennis 2 July 25, 2000
Sega Debt Downgraded July 25, 2000
Kozuki Sees Future in C.phones July 18, 2000
Jaleco Goes Frothy July 18, 2000
Game Boy Goes On-line July 18, 2000
Konami To Distribute DVDs July 14, 2000
Illegal Net Copies of D'Cast July 14, 2000
Sega's Digital Arcade Network July 7, 2000
Capcom & Asian Cell Phones July 7, 2000
Nintendo Shuts HK Copier July 5, 2000
Big Midway Layoffs July 5, 2000
Konami, Namco Drop Claims July 4, 2000
Konami Set Up R&D Center in Shanghai June 27, 2000
New Sega Bus Driver June 26, 2000
Konami & The Big Boyz June 23, 2000
Namco Buy Out Interactive Music Company June 23, 2000
New-Style Sega Arcades June 20, 2000
Konami "No Touch" Dance June 14, 2000
Moody's Upgrades Capcom June 14, 2000
Microsoft to Buy Midway ??? June 14, 2000
"Kart Duel" from Namco June 14, 2000
"Kick It" Maker To Close June 8, 2000
Sega in Motorola Tie-Up June 8, 2000
Sega Next-Gen Coin-Op Hard. May 31, 2000
Sega R&D Split-Up May 26, 2000
Sega Private Show in Japan May 26, 2000
Konami Enter Pachi-Slot Biz May 26, 2000
Sega Prez Resigns May 22,2000
Konami to Expand Overseas May 22, 2000
Konami Profit Soars May 22, 2000
Sega Adapts To Dollar Coin May 22, 2000
Konami Take E3 By Storm May 12, 2000
Sega & Net Phones May 10, 2000
Sega Fish Tank May 10, 2000
Namco in Recycling Biz May 10, 2000
Capcom To Spin Off Divs. May 10, 2000
Sega To Digitally Link Arcades April 28, 2000
Sega Games for PS2??? April 28, 2000
Konami Invest in Takara April 28, 2000
Sega in Japanese Gov't Cell Phone/Vid Game Project April 25, 2000
Sega Drastic Cost Cutting April 25, 2000
"Blair Witch" for Joypolis April 25, 2000
Microsoft to Buy Square? April 25, 2000
Jaleco: 3rd Year of Losses April 25. 2000
Atlus To Record Loss April 25, 2000
Capcom To List on TSE April 17, 2000
Sega Re-organizes Arcades April 17, 2000
Court Rules Vidgames Not To Blame in Shootings April 12, 2000
Konami Get ASI Prizes April 12, 2000
JAMMA Admit Used Machine Sales Necessary April 4, 2000
Konami Bring DDR Court Case in Korea April 4, 2000
News Prior to March 31, 2000 **

(updated September 18, 2000)

JAMMA Line-Ups

(Sega) (Namco) (Konami) (Taito) (Psikyo) (Sammy)

Sega

1. NASCAR Arcade (driving)

2. Crackin DJ (music)

3. Sega Strike Fighter (plane)

4. Death Crimson OX (gun)

5. Super GuruGuru Station (mass prize)

Namco

1. Ridge Racer V Arcade (driving)

2. Ninja Assault (gun)

3. Gunbareena (gun: new sequel to Gun Bullet)

4. Golgo 13 Kiseki (gun; sequel to Golgo 13 (Sniper))

5. Bloody Roar 3 (PCB by Eighting)

6. GAHAHA (variety game)

7. Technowerk (music)

8. Million Hits (music)

9. Sweet Wheel (prize)

10. Lumispin Prize (prize)

11. Fancy Lifter Giga (prize)

12. Pac 'N Party (medal)

Konami

1. Beat Mania II DX 4th Style (music)

2. Keyboard Mania 2nd Mix (music)

3. Pop 'N Music Animelo 2 (music)

4. Pop 'N Music 5 (music)

5. Para Para Paradise (music)

6. DDR 4th Mix (music)

7. Drum Mania 3rd Mix (music)

8. Guitar Freaks 4th Mix (music)

9. Puri Puri Canvas 2000 (seal)

10. G-1 Leading Sire Ver. 2 (mass-medal horse race)

Taito

1. Go By Train sequel

2. Cyberian Revision (PCB shooting)

3. Capriccio Cyclone SR (redemption)

4. Bermuda Panic (medal)

Psikyo

1. Dragon Blaze (PCB)

2. Tetris TA Grand Master 2 (PCB)

Sammy

1. Guilty Gear X (PCB)

2. Round Square (prize)

3. Pachislot Revolution (pachi-slot)

4. Pleasure Factory (mass-medal)

New Game Pictures

Click below for pictures of JAMMA Show games:

Ninja Assault DX (Namco gun game)

Ninja Assault SD (Namco gun game)

Ridge Racer V Arcade (Namco driving game)

Pac 'N Party (Namco arcade game)

Sega Strike Fighter DX (Sega plane game)

Sega Strike Fighter SD (Sega plane game)

Shakatto Tambourine (Sega music game)

Boat Race Ocean Heats (Sega mass medal game)

Capcom JAMMA Line-Up

Video game: "Moero; Justice Gakuen" (Latest sequel to "Rival Schools")

Video game: "Capcom Vs. SNK Millenium Fight"

Video game: "Gunspike"

Video game: "1944 The Loop Master"@

Aruze/SNK JAMMA Line-Up

Video game: "King of Fighters 2000"

Pachi-slot : "O-Hanabi"

Medal: "Rockin' Vampire"

(updated September 13, 2000)

Sega To Release Go Kart Game??

Rumours from Europe have it that Sega are hot on the heels of Namco with their own go-kart themed driving game. Sega Japan are denying the existence of such a game saying the only driving game they will show at JAMMA is "NASCAR Arcade". Our European contacts say they have seen it on the Sega web-site. We have not found this particular web-site yet but will keep looking.

Nintendo To Open Pokemon Shops Around World

Encouraged by the continuing worldwide popularity of its Pocket Monster ("POKEMON") video game characters, Nintendo is planning to open Pokemon stores in over ten major cities worldwide starting from next year. The shops will sell goods based on the Pokemon characters. There are already two Pokemon shops in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka. The first overseas outlets will be in New York and London.

Square To List on NASDAQ, Enter Movie Biz

The U.S. movie-making subsidary of the Japanese consumer video game developer Square is to apply for a listing on the American NASDAQ over-the-counter market from Autumn 2001. Square USA is to use the funds to break into Hollywood.

The company is presently making a $100 million computer-graphics movie version of the famous home video game "Final Fantasy". It plans to release the movie to over 2,000 theaters in the USA in summer 2001, just before the planned NASDAQ listing.

In an agreement with Columbia Pictures, Square USA is to produce three computer-graphic movies, with half of the costs being covered by Columbia.

(updated September 8, 2000)

SNK Move Into Aruze HQ

As of August 28, SNK Corporation moved its head offices to Ariake, Tokyo where the HQ of Aruze Corp, SNK's parent company. is situated. Ever since 1978 when SNK was founded, its headquarters have been in Osaka.

Konami Raise Fiscal Year Forecast

Konami have raised their forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2001. The better-than-expected figures are due to the continued success of the company's card game "Yu-Gi-Oh" and the planned listing of its subsidiary KCE Tokyo (see previous news story). Konami are forecasting profit to be 46% higher than originally forecast on May 16.

Konami Get FIFPro Soccer License

Konami's prize-winning International Superstar Soccer series for the Play Station is about to step up a notch in realism. Konami have secured a license from the professional soccer players' organization FIFPro to use real players' names in future editions of the game.

According to Daily Radar, Konami have also signed a deal with sportswear maker Umbro to raise the level of realism in its soccer games.

At the recent consumer game show "ECTS2000" in London, Konami was awarded the prize for best home video game in Italy for its game "International Superstar Soccer Pro Evolution".

(updated September 1, 2000)

Pictures of new Sega Games

Click on game name for picture: Nascar Arcade DX, Nascar Arcade Twin, Crackin' DJ.

(updated August 31, 2000)

New Namco Coin-Op Driver To Use PS2 Board

Namco have announced that they, in conjunction, with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), have developed a coin-op system board (System 246) compatible with Playstation 2. The System 246 was developed by integrating a core PC board developed by Sony with an interface board developed by Namco. By basing the new system on the existing PS2 hardware, the development costs of the new system were relatively low.

The new system will not only enable coin-op game manufacturers to easily convert games to PS2 use but will also encourage PS2 game developers to enter the coin-op arena.

Namco's first game using the new system is called "Ridge Racer V Arcade Edition", the coin-op version of the huge PS2 hit "Ridge Racer V". It will be shown at the JAMMA Show in Tokyo at the end of September.

Namco To Bow New Gun Game: "Ninja Assault"

Namco are due to exhibit a new gun game called "Ninja Assault" at the upcoming AMOA and JAMMA Shows. The game uses Sega's Naomi arcade hardware. The game uses a light gun but unlike Time Crisis, it does not have a foot pedal. Release is set for November in the USA and probably a little earlier in Japan.

(updated August 30, 2000)

New Sega Games

According to reports in RePlay Magazine, Sega will release the following games over the next few months: Star Wars Mini-Racer Arcade and NASCAR Arcade in September and NASCAR Twin, Royal Rumble, Alien Front Online and Strike Fighter Deluxe in October.

Capcom To Sell Direct

Capcom intends to end consignment sales of its consumer game software titles to game-console makers and instead market its products directly to retailers. This strategy will cut out the margins paid to console makers. Until recently, distribution of game software was controlled by the game hardware manufacturers.

Capcom expects the change in policy to boost its operating profit margin by 4-5 percent from the present 18%.

Konami Use Net For Product Ideas

Konami is looking for suggestions for new products through its website, Konami style.com. Any concepts suggested by over 100 people will be considered for development. The first product to be developed under this system is a special dancing pad for the consumer version of Dance Dance Revolution.

Another Konami R&D Sub. to List

The Konami game development subsidiary KCE Tokyo Inc. is to list its shares on the over-the-counter market in Japan from Aug. 29. KCE Tokyo was spun off by Konami in 1995 and all of the games it develops are marketed by the parent company. At present, approximately a quarter of the games Konami sells are developed by KCE Tokyo. While KCE Osaka, Konami's other development subsidiary that went public last year, concentrates on sports games, KCE Tokyo specialises in simulation and role-playing games.

KCE Tokyo's revenue comes from the fees it is paid by Konami for developing game software as well as commission on sales. In the long-run, the company plans to develop game concepts in-house to increase its independence from the parent company.

Over 90% of KCE Tokyo's games are designed for Sony's Playstation 1 & 2. Since its spin-off five years ago, the company has developed over 150 titles, many of them sequels of established game brands.

(updated August 15, 2000)

Sony Set PS2 Release Date for Europe

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced on August 4 that Play Station 2 would be released in Europe on November 24 in time for the Christmas season. A total of 40 titles will be available by year-end. The price of the console will be Stg299 in the UK and DM869 in Germany.

Konami Sub-Licences Jap. Baseball Rights to Sega

Konami announced on August 9 that it had agreed to sub-license rights to Japanese pro-baseball to seven other Japanese companies and was in negotiations with a further five. The seven companies are Square, Enix, Ascii, Systemsoft Productions, Sega Enterprises, Now Production, Nippon Create.

Testosterone is in no short supply in the Japan game industry and it must have been a blow to Sega's pride to have to ask Konami for the license. The winds of change are a'blowin....

Jaleco Bought Out By HK Net Company

On August 10, the Hong Kong internet company Pacific Century Cyberworks bought out Jaleco for around US$1.8 million. By buying up a new share issue planned by Jaleco for JPY379 per share, Pacific Century will become the largest shareholder in Jaleco. Pacific Century is headed by Richard Lee and its shareholders include Intel of the USA and Hikari Tsushin of Japan.

Capcom Vs. SNK Tourney in Japan

Capcom has released details on its website of a nationwide "Capcom Vs. SNK Millenium Fight 2000" competition in Japan.
From mid-August, a preliminary round called "Early Circuit" in game arcades around the country. In mid-September, the preliminary round qualifiers will gather in Osaka and Tokyo for the finals. At the same time, a network championship using the Dreamcast will be held.

Konami Takes Further Step Towards Pachi-Slot Profits

Konami has taken another big step towards its entry into the lucrative pachi-slot market in Japan. It joined the pachi-slot industry association in April this year and announced on August 2 that it has submitted its first prototype machine to the association for approval. The company's subsidiary "Konami Parlor Entertainment" is responsible for the company's pachi-slot ventures.

Shinjuku "Joypolis" To Be Closed

Sega plan to shut its flagship Shinjuku "Joypolis" amusement arcade at the end of August. The arcade was opened in 1996 in Takashimiya Time Square and was a favorite destination for overseas visitors to the JAMMA Show. Sega are pointing the finger at the conditions in the new contract demanded by Takashimaya and the competition the location is facing from the "Joypolis" arcades in Daiba and Yokohama.

Konami Ties Up With Universal Music for Euro Dance Game

Konami has teamed up with Universal Music Group of the U.S. to jump-start sales of its dancing machines in Europe. In Japan, most of the songs in the "Dance Dance Revolution" series of machines have been composed by Konami's in-house musicians but it appears this was not enough to encourage Euro dancers to try the game.

With the new version of the game, called "Dancing Stage" in Europe, Universal's hit songs will be incorporated. Universal holds about a 25% share of the European music market. Konami's aim is to sell about 1,000 machines in the first year.

Sega, Sony Invest in Same Game Developer

Sega and Sony have both taken minority stakes in the game development company Dimps Corp. It is very rare for two competing Japanese firms to invest in the same company.

Dimps Corp. was established in March 2000 with a capitalization of Yen 10 million. In addition to Sony and Sega which invested Yen 30 million each for a 10% stake, Sammy invested Yen 153 million for a 51% stake and Bandai invested Yen 39 million.

Dimps is expected to have sales of Yen 700 million in the current fiscal year and is aiming at sales of Yen 5 billion and profit of Yen 1 billion in fiscal 2001. Aiming is sometimes easier than achieving....

Konami Get "Tour de France" Rights

Konami announced on July 19 that it had got the exclusive rights to develop video games based on the Tour de France. The company was awarded the exclusive rights by La Societa du France. Konami intends to make Tour de France cycling games for the Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft game consoles as well as network games.

According to the Konami press release, "the Tour de France licence is an essential ingredient in their marketing strategy in Europe". The 2000 Tour de France was won last week by an American.

Crazy Taxi 2, Virtua Tennis 2 in the Works

According to Daily Radar, Sega are developing sequels for Crazy Taxi and Virtua Tennis. It seems the Crazy Taxi sequel may contain a variety of different vehicles, not only taxis.

Sega's Debt Downgraded

Sega's long-term debt rating was lowered by two grades from BBB-minus to BB by the rating agency Japan Rating Investment Information Inc. on July 21. Sega got a capital injection of over Yen 100 billion earlier this year but according to the ratings agency, Sega's financial position remains very weak.

With the Japanese game software market very sluggish, the rating agency believes that Sega will have to sacrifice profit margins in a bid to expand sales of its struggling Dreamcast game console.

(updated July 18, 2000)

Konami's Kozuki Hot on Mobile Phone Games

A key to the future can perhaps be found in Japan's crowded commuter trains. The first thing passengers do now is whip out their e-mail and internet-enabled mobile phones to find out their horoscope, how much their making on the stock market, movie times and reviews and now increasingly, to play interactive games. Big change from a few years ago when trains were places to catch up on some shut-eye.

I wouldn't say Konami founder Kagemasa Kozuki has travelled by train for a while but he recently told MCV that he expected over half of the game industry's future revenues to come through games for portable devices as their use is independent of location, i.e. can be used anywhere.

Jaleco Looks To Beer

It's pretty hot in Japan and it looks like the heat has got to Jaleco. The company has put on sale a beer server called "BEER PARTY" for pulling those outdoor B-B-Q draft beers. Price is JPY19,800. Cheaper than a lousy driver.

On-Line Game Boy

The ubiquitous "Game Boy" is to go on-line before the end of the year. For existing models, players will have to buy a special adaptor to connect to a mobile phone. A new model called "Game Boy Advance" will have the adaptor built-in. The adaptor will cost around JPY5,000 retail. Nintendo will offer games on-line for which the player must pay 10-20 yen per time, in addition to the mobile phone charges.

(updated July 14, 2000)

Konami To Distribute 3rd-Party DVD Software

As part of its continued efforts to increase the efficiency and of each and every of its business elements, Konami is set to distribute 3rd-party DVD software on its consumer game distribution network.

Initially Konami will distribute the DVD software titles of Time Warner Entertainment Japan, Bandai Visual and King Records. These three companies have a total DVD line-up of over 500 titles. Konami's strategy of distributing directly to retailers is highly profitable as long as it has a full product line in order to keep all elements of the distribution chain at or close to full capacity. This addition of 3rd-party products will help in this respect.

Illegal Copies of D'Cast Games On Net

Sega announced this week that an as-yet unidentified group is distributing illegal copies of its Dreamcast game console software over the Internet. This appears to be the first time that copies of consumer game software have been distributed in this way. The firm, which held an emergency meeting Monday, will identify the group and consider filing a lawsuit.

The unidentified group began to post newly-released games on its Web site in late June this year. However, with the software occupying over 1 gigabytes of memory and the relatively slow internet connection in Japan, it is unlikely that widespread downloading of the copied games will take place in the near future.

(updated July 7, 2000)

Sega's Digital Network Arcades Take Shape

Sega's network amusement center project is taking shape. Sega has decided to use Schlumberger Ltd. integrated circuit card system in the membership-based nationwide project.

The project, called "Entertainment Stage net@", will connect amusement facilities throughout Japan using high-speed optical fiber to provide real-time communication for all kinds of digital amusement contents. Sega plans to set flexible charges for playing the games, and provide services that match each customer's characteristics, including various discounts.

IC card holders will be able to use a wide range of digital amusement contents at game arcade centers without coins. The Japanese printing company Toppan Label Co. will develop a customized system for Sega's net@ project based on Schlumberger's IC card chip and operating system.

Sega plans to carry out a test run in July by connecting three amusement facilities in Tokyo using optical fiber..

Capcom & Cell Phone Games in Asia

Capcom's decision to stick with kit games while the rest of the coin-op herd rushed to the dedicated machine looks like paying off.

Capcom is planning to distribute computer games and game characters via the Internet to cellular phone users in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of East Asia, in tie-ups with local telecommunications firms. Capcom started offering its game characters via cell phones in Hong Kong on July 1 in a tie-up with Cable & Wireless HK. From August, it plans to distribute cell-phone versions of its popular games, such as Biohazard and Street Fighter III, in Hong Kong.

In East Asia outside Japan, the number of cell phone subscribers expanded rapidly to some 90 million by the end of last year. Capcom plans to charge 10-20 yen for each game or character downloaded.

Capcom intends to set up similar deals with Singapore Telecommunications Co., Smart Communications Inc. of the Philippines and Far Eastone Telecommunications Co. of Taiwan during summer this year.

Capcom, which already offers a similar service in Japan expects sales from the cell-phone sector to hit 2.5 billion yen in the current fiscal year.

(updated July 5, 2000)

Nintendo Shuts Down Hong Kong Copier "Apollo"

According to Daily Radar, Nintendo has succeeded in shutting down the Hong Kong counterfeit company Apollo Ltd. The Hong Kong company had been manufacturing Nintendo controllers with in-built Nintendo video games in its factories in China and exporting them around the world. Nintendo seized 2,000 counterfeits with an estimated market value of $50,000.

Big Layoffs at Midway

According to Daily Radar, Midway have laid off about 75 people this week. The cuts are companywide from marketing to product development. In spite of this, Midway insist that they will be expanding their payroll this year in order to develop new products for the various new game consoles coming onto the market.

(updated July 4, 2000)

Namco & Konami Drop Mutual Copyright Claims

On July 3, Konami and Namco decided to bury the legal hatchet. The two companies had been involved in suit and countersuit over copyright involving Konami's music games and Namco's sports games. Each side accused the other of infringing its copyright. Both sides have now informed the courts and patent office that they are withdrawing their claims against the other. According to the joint press release, this is "for the sake of industry development".

(updated June 27, 2000)

Konami Set Up R&D Hub in Shanghai

Konami announced on June 26 that it will establish a wholly-owned subsidiary "Konami Software Shanghai" in China. The amount of capital to be invested is US$2,000,000. The subsidiary will become part of Konami's consumer game development network, encompassing Japan, the USA and now China.

Konami received permission from the Chinese government in May 2000 to establish the company and intends to start operations from October 1. Initially, the Chinese subsidiary will play a supporting role to Konami's R&D centers in Japan and the USA and will do programming work as directed from those two countries. In the longer term however, given the huge potential demand in China, the objective is for the Chinese subsidiary to develop games in Chinese for the local market.

Konami Software Shanghai will start off with 80 game developers with the intention of gradually increasing this number to around 200.

(updated June 27, 2000)

Bus Driving Game from Sega; Also "Slash Out"

Sega held a private show on June 23. The center of attention for the Japanese operators and distributors at the show was the 4-player 3-D fighting game "Slash Out". This is the sequel to "Spike Out". The four players can cooperate together. Precious gems can be collected for power-up and the story-line changes depending on the time it takes the players to finish each stage.

"Tokyo Bus Tour" is a bus-driving game using the same cabinet as "18 Wheeler". There is a big steering wheel and an indicator lever in the green/white-coloured bus.

Other games included the Japanese pro-wrestling game "Giant Gram 2000", the block game "Cosmic Smash".

(updated June 23, 2000)

Konami & The Big Boyz

Boy, Konami have come a long way since the dark days 6-7 years ago when they had one of the smaller booths at the AOU Show in Japan and the "star" attraction was a space shooting game called "XeXeX". Konami has deals with Microsoft allowing Microsoft right of first refusal to publish Konami games on PC while Konami has a similar five-year deal with Universal giving Konami right of first refusal on all Universal properties (see below).

Vivendi's merger with Seagram, the parent company this week throws up several more potential partnerships involving Konami. Vivendi is the parent company of software house Havas Interactive which presently has an agreement in place with Capcom for the Japanese company to market Havas' software. Konami set up a new business division in February this year and established a new brand "Major Wave" to handle 3rd-party software. The company sold over 50 titles and one million units of 3rd party games last year (see below).

Namco Buy Out Musicplayground Inc.

On April 7, Namco bought the American music software company Musicplayground Inc. and plans to set up the web site musicplayground.com by December this year.

Namco have seen Konami's huge success with music games in the coin-op arena and are now trying to translate this to the internet. Musicplayground Inc. is what is called a real-time interactive music entertainment software development company and the plan is to make musicplayground.com into the world's first real-time interactive music web-site. Alles klar, Herr Komissar?

Visitors to the web-site will be able to play virtual instruments such as electric guitars, drums etc either by themselves or together with other music.

(updated June 20, 2000)

Sega To Launch New-Style "@" Arcades

Sega plan to open a chain of new-style game arcades from July this year. The name of the new arcades will be Entertainment.Stage net@. Each amusement centre will feature game terminals that enable players to compete with players at other locations as well as watch movies, cartoons, music video clips and sporting events. The centers will also have refreshment areas.

The terminals will be equipped with an 18-inch active-matrix LCD screen, a camera and microphone and be linked via a fiber-optic network. The charge will be 500 yen per 30 minutes of use. Two people can use each terminal.

The company plans to open three game centers in Tokyo in July and aims to expand the chain to 20 nationwide within this fiscal year and to 600 in three years.

(updated June 14, 2000)

Konami To Release "Non-Touch" Dancing Game

Konami are to release a game that would have certainly got the approval of Catholic priests in rural 1950's Ireland. A "non-touch" dancing game. The game is called "Dance Maniacs" and is due for release in Japan at the end of June.

The machine will be equipped with a total of eight sensors to monitor the player's movements. As in previous Konami dance games, the player has to move according to instructions on the screen. The machine will have a total of 25 songs.

Moody's Upgrades Capcom Debt

Moody's Investors Service has raised its outlook on Capcom's unsecured long-term bonds from "stable" to "positive". Moody's cites improvements in the company's financial position and a more stable outlook for profits in the medium term.

Moody's points to the convertible debentures that were converted into stock in March 2000 reducing the debenture repayment burden and the Capcom's ventures with Sony, Sega and Nintendo as reducing the risk associated with changes in market share of the home video games hardware manufacturers.

Capcom's consumer game share in Japan is 6.2% and about 5% in both Europe and the USA. In the past year, Capcom had huge hits with "Bio Hazard" and "Dino Crisis" leading to a 34% increase in revenue for the fiscal year.

Moody's also points to Capcom's strategy in selling third-party software as having a stabilizing effect on future earnings. For example, it sells the game software of the English developer Eidos and the American software house Havas Interactive. Capcom is also reportedly in negotiations for a similar venture with Virgin Interactive Entertainment.

An area of concern for Moody's is Capcom's coin-op division and how Capcom plans to return it to profitability.

Microsoft To Buy Midway??

According to rumors reported in Computer and Video Games, Microsoft may be looking to buy Midway. Neither Microsoft nor Midway were available for comment, although Midway's Kim Tilley did tell CVG that there is, "No confirmation or denial at this time." Midway developed such games as "Off Road Thunder", "NFL Blitz" and "Gauntlet: Dark Legacy".

New Namco Driver "Kart Duel"

On June 13, Namco held a private show in Japan to preview its releases for the summer season. The line-up included video, medal and prize games. Based on the number of units on display, Namco were pushing the puzzle game "Mr Driller 2" which features a versus-mode. A version of "World Kicks" for normal cabinets was also on display. By changing the control panel and using an analog button, any normal arcade cabinet can be used.

"Kart Duel" is a kart-racing drive game. The seats are the same as a real go-kart machine and the DX version features moving seats. Two machines can be linked. Click here for picture.

"Technovelk" is another attempt by Namco to knock Konami off its perch as king of the music machines. It uses a Yamaha keyboard and so is similar to Konami's "Keyboard Mania". The machine has some 22+ songs.

(updated June 8, 2000)

U.S. Maker of "Kick It" to Close Down

The American company Interactive Light is going out of business. The make of the soccer game "Kick It" and baseball game "Swing It" ran into financial difficulties after one of its associated firms ran into financial difficulties as the result of a lawsuit. This prevented the company from carrying through on a planned investment in Interactive Light. This in turn prompted other creditors in Interactive Light not to convert their loans to equity.

Sega in Mobile Phone Tie-Up With Motorola

On June 5, Sega announced an alliance with Motorola Inc. covering image-processing for mobile phones. Sega will provide Motorola with technologies to enable mobile phones and personal digital assistants to receive games and display them on screen.

Sega and Motorola will jointly develop software called application programming interface (API) to maximize the image-processing capacity of cellular phones. The challenge is in overcoming the limited computing power and memory capacity of the average mobile phone.

The software will first be installed in 10 million units of a new cell phone to be marketed next spring by Motorola. Assuming Sega's licensing fees work out to 1-2 dollars per phone, the company can expect several billion yen in royalties, including revenue from game software.

Sega also plans to reveal the inner workings of API to other mobile phone manufacturers in a bid to have it adopted by as many industry participants as possible. According to Shoichiro, who just stepped down as president of Sega on June 1 and who is taking charge of the mobile phone project, "Mobile phones could end up becoming the game machines of the future".

(updated May 31, 2000)

Sega Unveil Next-Gen Coin-Op Hardware

Sega has revealed details of its next-generation coin-op hardware technology. According to the press release, "Sega is already using the system for the development of the next generation of arcade titles, the first of which are expected to be released later this year."

This next generation hardware is based on the PowerVR architecture and incorporates an advanced PowerVR co-processing engine which enables full hardware geometry transformation and lighting. The PowerVR was developed by Imagination Technologies.

According to Imagination Technologies CEO Houssein Yassaie, "Our new work will enable Sega to create even more stunning and realistic arcade games by utilizing the advanced PowerVR hardware transformation and lighting engine, together with multiple PowerVR rendering processors, while hugely benefiting from the freed up resources in the main CPU for actual game dynamics."

Not really sure what all this means but presumably nice new graphics.

(updated May 26,2000)

Sega's Restructured R&D Section

Sega has given out more information on its internal restructing. Beginning July 1, Sega Enterprises will be divided into nine subsidiaries owned by Sega. 1525 employees will be affected by the changes. The R&D teams will be spun-off into individual companies with the following names (Smile Pit and Over Works; Sega getting a sense of humour?):

Original Team Name (New Company Name)

Sega Soft # 1 (Woo Hoo)

Sega Soft # 3 (Hit Maker)

Sega Soft # 4 (Amusement Vision)

Sega Soft # 5 (Sega Roso)

Sega Soft # 6 (Smile Pit)

Sega Soft # 7 (Over Works)

Sega Soft # 8 (Sonic Team)

Sega Soft # 9 (United Game Artists)

Wave Master (Digital Media)

Sega Soft #2 (Sega AM2), will continue to be an internal team Sega team for the time being.

Sega Private Show in Japan

Sega held a private show on May 23 in Japan for its new coin-op games. There wasn't much to excite the overseas visitor given that all games were either for the domestic market only or had already been exhibited at overseas shows.

The center of attention for domestic traders was the new medal machine " Star Horse". If you have been keeping up with the Manjiro Works Game Rankings over the last few months, you will have seen the game "Derby Owners Club" stuck at #1 in the coin-op charts. This is a multi-player horse racing video game where the players choose a stud, trainer, carrots etc. before finally bringing their horse to the races. "Star Horse" is an attempt to transfer this idea to a medal machine. In addition to the "Royal Ascot" type of rbetting on race results, the game will incorporate the player-as-horse-owner aspect of "Derby Owners Club".

The "normal" video games at the show were "Star Wars Racer" and "Virtual On Oratorio Tangram M.S.B.S. ver. 5.66" (try saying that with a few Asahi Super Dry taken).

Konami Enter Pachi-Slot Biz

On the heels of obtaining a license to produce gaming machines in Nevada in the U.S., Konami is now set to get a license from the Japanese police authorities to produce pachinko-slot ("pachi-slot") machines in Japan. In the nudge-nudge-wink-wink world of police licenses, one of the conditions for the pachi-slot license is that the applicant is first accepted as a member of the manufacturers' organization Nichidenkyo. And to become a member of that you have to promise to be a good boy and not compete on price, not be too innovative etc. Konami applied for the Nichidenkyo membership on April 25.

Konami is already supplying software for liquid crystal display units which are incorporated in the pachinko play board. Since 1997, Konami's pachi-slot subsidiary, Konami Parlor Entertainment, has been a member of Kaidoyusho, the organization of pachi-slot machine sales companies.

(updated May 22, 2000)

Poor Dreamcast Sales Forces Out Sega Prez

Shoichiro Irimajiri, president of Sega Enterprises Ltd. (7964), will resign to take responsibility for the poor sales of Dreamcast game consoles. He will become vice chairman of the firm.

Sega Chairman Isao Ohkawa, 74 years old, who is also chairman of CSK Corp., will succeed Irimajiri and serve concurrently as president. Sega is an affiliate of CSK. The disappointing sales of the Dreamcast are the main reason for Sega posting its third year of losses in succession. In his new position, Irimajiri, 60, will concentrate on design and development of a successor game machine.

The founder and largest shareholder of CSK, Ohkawa will be responsible for initiatives to restructure Sega. It has yet to be decided whether he will remain as CSK chairman.

Konami Aiming To Expand Overseas Biz

Konami is aiming to diversify its earnings base and is looking overseas, primarily to the U.S., to ensure that it meets its fiscal 2001 target of a JPY35.5 billion consolidated operating profit. With domestic sales of music and card games seen to fall this year, overseas expansion is seen as the key to maintaining growth.

Combined sales from Europe, other parts of Asia and the Americas, in particular the U.S. and Brazil, totaled JPY23.4 billion in fiscal 1999, accounting for 16% of overall revenue. Konami aims to have the three regions generate 23% of its revenue, or JPY34 billion, this fiscal year.

In the U.S. market, Konami is set to roll out games based on licenses from Universal Studios and the ESPN sports channel, which is owned by the Walt Disney company. Its aim is to capture more than 10% of the U.S. home video game market in 2002 and is aiming for sales of JPY30 billion in the USA in fiscal 2001. Having obtained a licence from the Nevada Gaming Commission, Konami also intends to make inroads into the casino business in Las Vegas .

Konami Profit Soars

On May 16 Konami reported that its group net profit for the year ended March increased 260% to JPY18.3 billion. The rise is attributed to the popularity of music video games such as Dance Dance Revolution for both game arcade and home use. Good sales of the highly profitable card game Yu-Gi-Oh! also helped to boost the bottom line.

Consolidated sales grew 29% to JPY146.6 billion. In addition to continued growth in arcade music game sales, sales of special controllers for the home game versions of Konami's music video games were also brisk.

The arcade operation division saw revenue increase 150% to JPY25.3 billion and operating profit rise to JPY5.2 billion from a deficit of JPY100 million in fiscal 1998.

The home video game division saw sales fall 2% to JPY61.2 billion due to a lack of hit products. But because home games converted from arcade game titles are relatively low cost, the division's group operating profit rose 9% to JPY15.4 billion.

Consolidated operating profit rose 85% to JPY30.9 billion, with group pretax profit surging 92% to JPY31.1 billion.

For the year through March 2001, Konami expects to achieve a small increase in group sales to JPY147 billion, in anticipation of a growth in sales of games based on popular film licenses. However, due to the waning popularity of music and card video games, group net profit is predicted to fall 24% to JPY23.5 billion with net profit dropping 29% to JPY13 billion.

Sega Adapts To Dollar Coin

Sega has announced it will be adapting its arcade machines to accept the new gold dollar coin in the USA. It is the first of the major coin-op manufacturers to make such a move.

"Widespread acceptance and consumer utilization of the dollar coin will have a dramatic and very positive influence on the earnings of coin-op games," said Sega Coin-Op President Alan Stone. "It's happened in every other industrialized nation that introduced a similar type of dollar coin into their currency. There's no reason to expect it won't happen in America as well."

(updated May 12, 2000)

Konami Take E3 by Storm with PS2 Software

The E3 Show is the showcase event of the first half of the year in the consumer games industry. This year sees the debut of Playstation 2 and all attention is on whether it will live up to the great hype. Numerous software companies are exhibiting new software for the PS2 at the show and Konami's games in particular are grabbing the showgoers attention. A sure-thing for game of the show, according to reports, is Konami's "Metal Gear Solid 2". It drew the largest crowds on the first day of the show and really showed what the PS2 is capable of . At the end of the first day, another two Konami games were included in the top ten rankings; the sports game "Track & Field" and the robot battle game "Z.O.E.". The only other Japanese companies with games in the top 10 list were Koei and Sony with one each.

(updated May 10, 2000)

Sega in Net Phone Business

Sega Enterprises Ltd. said on May 9 that it has formed a joint venture with InnoMedia Inc. of the U.S. to provide Internet telephone services in Japan. The joint venture is capitalized at JPY10 million and is will start business in August this year. According to Sega, they will hold a 20% stake, the Sega group company Isao Corp. will take a 30% stake, and InnoMedia will hold 50% of the shares.

Users of Sega's Dreamcast game console will be able to make inexpensive long distance and international calls via the Internet and play games that feature a voice chat function.

Sega's Fishy Business

As part of its strategy to enter the visual display business, Sega plans to market a digital fish tank called "Fish Life" to restaurants, hotels and other locations. The tank has a 15-inch active matrix display and costs JPY498,000. It will be sold from June 20 and Sega expect to sell 2,000 units in the first year.

The tank is a miniaturized, upgraded version of a digital fish tank Sega has already installed in various amusement arcades. Computer graphics realistically recreate the ocean floor and viewers can tap on a touch panel to watch the fish respond with over a dozen movements, including dancing.

Namco Enters Waste Disposal Biz

On May 2, Namco announced that it will set up a waste styrol-foam recycling venture with four partners. The company will produce recycling machinery based on its in-house knowledge of dissolution agents as well as recycling technology acquired from a subsidiary of Sony Corp.. The partners will sell the equipment and recycled resin through their sales channels.

Namco expects the market for environment-related services to grow as more recycling laws are enacted and sees recycling as becoming its second major business behind video games.

The new joint venture, which is capitalized at 100 million yen, started business on May 1. Namco put up 60% of the capital, with Mitsui Engineering Shipbuilding Co., Mitsui Construction Co., Mitsubishi Corp. and a Mitsubishi affiliate taking a 5% stake each. The remaining 20% will be invested by Masaya Nakamura, Namco's president, and other individuals.

Namco will recycle styrol foam into polystyrene pellets and other products using a dissolution agent and far-infrared ray technology. The pellets will be used as raw materials for construction and consumer appliance parts.

The company aims to sell a total 730 million yen worth of recycling equipment and pellets in the first year and 6.5 billion yen in fiscal 2004.

Capcom to Spin Off Divisions

Capcom intends to move to a holding company structure by spinning off its different operational divisions as independent companies.

The company has already divided its in-house operations into 15 separate divisions, mostly according to game title. This clearly highlights expenditure and revenue flow and thereby sources of profit within the company. Capcom intends to spin off the high-profit divisions as independent companies by the end of the current fiscal year ending March 2001. In addition, the company will introduce a system of performance incentives such as linking pay more closely to performance in order to raise productivity.

Spinning off the various divisions will leave the head office with mostly strategic planning responsibility. This follows similar moves by Konami and Sega.

(updated April 28, 2000)

Sega To Digitially Link 20 Arcades By 2001

Sega announced on Tuesday that it plans to digitally connect three amusement arcades in the Tokyo area using broadband fibre-optic cables capable of transmitting one gigabit of data per second (about 8,000 times the capacity of the ISDN connection in an average household). The experimental plan is due to go into effect by July this year. If successful, Sega intends to gradually expand the network to around 20 by the end of this year and up to 200 arcades from early 2001.

The new technology will allow players to play in virtual arenas containing athletics, racing and combat software titles. Several dozen players will compete online at once, with participants able to see their opponents' faces while playing. Taking part will cost approximately 500 yen ($4.75) for 30 minutes. This is part of Sega's new strategy, launched in November 1999, to focus on network entertainment in addition to the consumer games and arcade operation businesses.

Sega Games for Playstation 2 ??

Rumours are rife about a proposed deal between Sega and Acclaim that would bring Sega's arcade titles to the Playstation 2. The games rumoured to be part of the deal include Crazy Taxi and Zombie Revenge. Acclaim are not commenting on the stories and Sega of America are denying that any such deal is in the offing.

If the rumours do turn out to be true, it will certainly mean a quicker death for the Dreamcast, which has been struggling in terms of sales anyway. In the long term, this would likely be beneficial to Sega's bottom line by allowing its strong software brand to be sold onto the most popular hardware platforms. If Sega's R&D divisions are to be spun into truly stand-alone companies, then the pressure will be on them to achieve sales and profits. The key to that will be developing software for the hardware platform with the most units in the home.

Konami Buy 22.8% of Takara

Konami announced April 27 that it will acquire a 22.8% stake in Takara Co. for JPY3.3. billion.

The move will make Konami the largest shareholder in the financially troubled domestic toymaker which is ranked third in the domestic toy industry.

Konami will dispatch directors to Takara following the deal.

The companies plan to cross-market their game and toy products. Takara will also help commercialize Konami's character goods, while Konami will assist in improving Takara's digital toy and game business, an area in which it trails its rivals. Takara predicts a parent-only net loss of more than JPY14 billion in the year ended March.

(updated April 25, 2000)

Sega, Japan Government to Develop Amusement Cell Phones

Sega may be struggling with its Dreamcast and bottom-line but it still has a powerful representative voice in the amusement industry. According to the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, it is one of the companies chosen by the Japanese government to help it develop a global e-commerce standard by harnessing the technology used to distribute video games and animation via next-generation cellular phone handsets.

The Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications will discuss and develop standardized technology with such leading Japanese firms as NTT DoCoMo Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. as well as with Sega..

The ministry aims to combine Japan's leading cellular phone and video game technologies. Standardized technology will allow consumers to use handsets to view any software, while enabling Japanese software for use with cell phones to be distributed overseas. More than 5 million people in Japan already access the Internet using NTT DoCoMo's i-mode Internet-compatible mobile phone service.

The ministry hopes to overcome current barriers in software distribution, including the lack of a browser exclusively for use in cell phones, before the expected 2001 start of next-generation cellular phone services, which will display moving images on handsets.

Standardized technology is also expected to cut costs for game developers because they will be able to create games for various terminals using one development program.

Sega For Drastic Cost-Cutting

Sega Enterprises Ltd. plans to cut costs by more than JPY30 billion in the current fiscal year through March 2001, hoping to move into the black on an operating basis, according to Japan's Nikkei financial newspaper.

The company plans to reduce sales promotion expenses for its Dreamcast video-game machine to just over JPY20 billion in fiscal 2000 from about JPY31 billion in fiscal 1999.

Sega also plans to cut R&D costs by JPY8 billion to just under JPY25 billion in fiscal 2000. It will spin off its development division by the end of the fiscal year.

The company shut down more than 200 money-losing amusement facilities and eliminated 1,000 jobs in fiscal 1999. Sales and administrative expenses for fiscal 2000 are expected to decline by JPY15 billion to just under JPY25 billion. The company also plans to split its game arcades into separate units by the end of March 2001.

Sales are projected flat at JPY275 billion in fiscal 2000. Spinning off the amusement facilities is set to reduce sales by JPY35-40 billion but game sales are seen remaining strong at around 30 million units worldwide.

Sega Licenses "Blair Witch Project" for Tokyo Joypolis

Sega is set to open its new attraction "Blair Witch Project" in its Tokyo Joypolis theme park on April 29. It will take the form of a walk-through horror house based on the "Blair Witch" theme. It will use footage and scenes from the movie to hopefully horrify the visitors as much as the original movie characters. The Joypolis restaurant "Players Cafe" will be offering the "Blair Witch Sandwitch", "Missing Orange" etc. during the attraction's run at the park.

Microsoft To Buy Japan Software Powerhouse?

In spite of denials by Microsoft, rumours persist that the US company is planning a $1 billion acquisition of the Japan consumer game software powerhouse Square. The UK video game trade publication CTW has reported that the company intends to move forward with the attempted purchase very soon.

According to CTW, Microsoft Marketing Manager Stephen McGill did confirm that Microsoft is interested in acquisitions as a means to bolster its console software line up. He said, "We're talking to many people about acquisitions, particularly the Japanese, but as for the Square rumors; yes, I've heard them but they are just rumors."

Jaleco To Record 3rd Straight Loss

Jaleco Ltd. looks set to report a pretax loss of JPY830 million for fiscal 1999. This is a big turnaround from its initial projection of 160 million yen in pretax profit, and represents the company's third straight year of loss.

Jaleco saw a decline in sales of both coin-op and consumer games. Fiscal 1999 revenue is estimated at JPY5.8 billion, a 12.5% drop on the previous year and JPY1.7 billion below the company's earlier forecast.

The closing of four directly run game arcades resulted in a loss of JPY130 million, which was recorded as part of a total extraordinary loss of JPY250 million.

Atlus To Record Fiscal Loss

Atlus revised its forecast for the fiscal year downwards on April 21. Sales are revised downwards by JPY700 million to JPY20.3 billion while the forecast profit of JPY190 million has turned into a forecast loss of JPY130 million. The main reason is the performance of Atlus' operating arm. Atlus also posted a loss in the previous fiscal year of over JPY1.1 billion.

(updated April 17, 2000)

Capcom to List On 1st Section of TSE

According to reports in Bloomberg, Capcom intend to list on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange before the end of the year. This should increase the number of potential investors in the company and help it to raise funds to compete with the likes of Konami and Namco who are already list on the 1st section of the TSE.

Capcom's stock price rose over 400% last year on the back of expectations for sales of its software titles for Playstation 2. However, since late February just prior to the Playstation 2 release in Japan, Capcom's shares have slipped nearly 50%.

Capcom plan to release six titles for Playstation 2 and 13 for the original Playstation. The company will also release 14 titles for Dreamcast with all of them being designed for on-line play using the Dreamcast's built-in modem.

Sega To Re-Organize Arcade Operation Division

Sega Enterprises Ltd. is to spin off its arcade game division into five wholly owned regional units by this autumn. The division has around 1,000 staff, about 1/3 of all Sega employees.

Sega will arrange its 600 game arcades nationwide into five regions, each of which will be managed by one of the subsidiaries.

By separating the game arcade division, the company's only profitable division, Sega hopes to boost earnings from game arcades via competition among the five units and quick decision-making. The increase in profit at the game arcade division is expected to cover losses at the home video-game console section.

For the year ended March, Sega is estimated to have posted a parent-only net loss of 35.3 billion yen, due mainly to sluggish sales of its Dreamcast video-game machine.

But the game arcade division expects operating profit of 5 billion yen on sales of some 76 billion yen, thanks to the halving of the number of arcades to around 600.

(updated April 12, 2000)

Judge: "Vid Games Not To Blame for Shootings"

In the $33 million lawsuit accusing video games of having responsibility in a fatal shooting in Kentucky in 1997, the district judge dismissed the charges on the grounds that "Tragedies such as this simply defy rational explanation and courts should not pretend otherwise".

Konami Get ASI Show Prize for "Silent Scope"

The 29 distributor members of AAMA voted Konami the "Manufacturer of the Year" at the ASI Show in Las Vegas on April 10. The distributors voted in six categories such as "Product Strength" and "Product Innovation" and Konami had the highest overall points total. Amazingly, this is the first time a Japanese manufacturer has received the award since it was started 12 years ago.

Konami also received the "Sales Achievement Award" for its sniper-themed gun game "Silent Scope".

(updated April 6, 2000)

Dave & Buster's (USA) Revenue Up, Profit Down

Dave & Buster's, the USA arcade operator chain, reported a 24% increase in fourth quarter revenue and a 36% increase in fiscal year end revenue for the period ending January 31. Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $70.8 million compared to $57.3 million in the previous year; total revenue for the year was $247.1 million compared to $182.3 million the previous year. Net income for the fourth quarter was $3.9 million compared to $5.2 million in the previous fourth quarter. Pre-tax income for the year was $15.6 million compared to $21.5 million the previous year.

(updated April 4, 2000)

JAMMA: Used Machine Sales Necessary

In its meeting of January 12, 2000, the JAMMA Distribution Committee admitted that sales of used machines was absolutely vital for the industry, according to Game Machine magazine. The problem of used machines came to a head at the JAMMA Show last year when JAMMA suddenly decided to outlaw the display of used machines on the show floor. As a result, several used machine companies who had planned to exhibit at the show cancelled their booths in protest.

As a result of complaints from the used machine dealers, JAMMA decided it was time it had a policy on used machine sales. The Distribution Committee elicited opinions from JAMMA members and the resulting statement was that "the industry cannot survive without the buying and selling of used machines".

Konami Claims "DDR" Copyright Infringement in Korea

Konami has brought a case against the maker of the Korean dance simulation game "Pump It Up" in the Seoul District Court. Konami claims that "Pump It Up" infringes upon Konami's design copyright and is seeking a court order preventing from further production and sales of the machine.

"Pump It Up" is manufactured by Kin Young Hwang and was released in Korea in September 1999 by Sond Entertainment. Konami is claiming that the impression was given to Korean players that "Pump It Up" was part of the "Dance Dance Revolution" series of Konami dancing games.


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