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Should Sega Make a Comeback? Part 2

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By Nelson Schneider - 07/10/11 at 05:43 PM CT

Previously, I discussed the viability of Sega making a return to the console arms race during the imminent Generation 8. I concluded that Sega has no hopes of competing in the already-over-crowded hardware market outside of a novelty/budget/nostalgia box that has their entire first party library built-in. Unless, that is, Sega were to seek a strategic alliance with one of the three companies that already control the entire console pie.

Now, let us think: Who would make a perfect match for Sega?

Which console maker has, like Sega, seen significantly more success in the Western world than in Japan?

Which console maker would greatly benefit from Sega’s stable of first party titles to provide some desperately-needed genre diversity?

Which console maker could benefit from Sega’s long Japanese pedigree?

Which console maker has already worked with Sega in the past, and plastered a nice, big (but ultimately meaningless) ‘Compatible with Windows CE’ sticker on the Dreamcast?

If you said, ‘Microsoft,’ give yourself a pat on the back and go get a cookie.

Yes, Microsoft, the big, ugly American, would complement Sega quite well. Both companies are even fond of poorly-conceptualized console add-ons. The only problem for Sega is that Microsoft doesn’t partner with other companies, it buys them.

Over the course of the past several years, Microsoft, an Operating System and Productivity Suite developer, has tried to stick its fingers into every pie in the Silicon Valley. From failed enterprises such as the Zune mp3 player, to a ‘me-too’ search engine, to the officially-supported malware known as ‘Windows Internet Explorer,’ Microsoft has proven that it doesn’t have what it takes to do anything right besides Windows and Office (and Microsoft Security Essentials). Yet somehow the Xbox series of consoles has found a foothold in North America, despite the fact that both of those consoles were, essentially, “Halo” machines. In this same period of time, Microsoft has also proven that it is quite willing to spend lots of money in order to acquire worthless companies. Sega’s ~$500 million income (as of 2011) would make them a bargain!

However, the trick behind successfully acquiring Sega and making something good happen is that Microsoft Games Division would have to die. Instead of crushing and assimilating Sega, like what happened with Rare, Microsoft would need to spin-off its existing Games Division into Sega as a wholly-owned subsidiary. In one fell swoop, Sega would be back, Sega would have access to Microsoft’s seemingly-unlimited budget and resources, Microsoft would provide a ready-made fanbase of Western gamers waiting for the next brown FPS, and Sega would provide enough games from other genres (platformers, RPGs, fighting games, the list goes on) to sell the next “Halo” machine to a broader base of gamers. The Sega name and the nostalgia behind it would accomplish much in breaking down the barriers of hostility that many gamers have to the idea of a PC software company making a console. But then, there’s still the ‘Xbox’ branding that would be left behind… yet that, too, could be put to great use in unifying and simplifying one of the most tangled and frustrating platforms in the entire history of gaming, while allowing Microsoft to stay true to its original areas of expertise…

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Nelson Schneider

Wrote on07/26/11 at 11:54 PM CT

Yes, Chris, in this scenario, Sega games would be exclusive to the Sega (Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Microsoft) console.

I know you hate exclusives, but they are necessary. They are the only reason that any given console sells. If you could get all of your games on one console, only one console would exist. And if only one console existed, we'd have all the fun that comes with monopolies (price gouging, user hostile EULAs, etc.).

Where my previous argument for the death of handheld exclusively differs from this is that handhelds are made by companies that also make big-boy consoles. Nintendo handheld games should be playable on Nintendo's console and Sony handheld games should be playable on Sony's console. And if MS wanted to kiss some Google booty, they could try to finagle Android games on Xbox.

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Wrote on07/12/11 at 02:43 PM CT

Thanks, I needed that cookie because I skipped lunch. In this scenario would Xbox then be the "exclusive" console for SEGA games or would we still see Sonic games and the like show up on other platforms? I, for one, am not a fan of exclusive games - and that goes both ways. I don't see why I shouldn't be able to play Alan Wake or Fable on my PS3 and why not let Microsoft fans enjoy InFamous and LittleBigPlanet. Exclusivity is one of those things that irks me - Nintendo only gets a pass because they pretty much reinvented the video game market with Mario, Zelda and Metroid.

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