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February 13, 2003

Footnote to Square/Enix merger
   [ posted by: R.I.P ]
On another note, the New York Times mentioned in a footnote to their coverage of Sega's announcement this morning that "Also today, shareholders at Square, which is 19 percent owned by Sony, accepted a takeover bid by the rival Enix Corporation." While this in and of itself is not news since the merger was announced months ago, this does mark that the deal is now coming to a close.
Ok... thanks guys, is this enough turmoil for 2003, or is this just the beginning of a new restructuring of the entire industry. ...personally? I'm thinking, hold on to your seats, we're in for a bumpy ride.

Last official Atari studio closes
   [ posted by: R.I.P ]
As if the news from Sega wasn't enough to put everyone in a funk, this comes on the heels of Midway's announcement yesterday that they are closing the last remaining studio offices with ties to the original Atari Corporation as a cost cutting maneuver. There were still staff at this site with employment dating back to the 70's, with one employee having worked on the arcade game Tank.
What will happen to these employees is anyone's guess, but I hope that they are atleast offered preferential transfers to other Midway offices.

Sega merger with Sammy
   [ posted by: R.I.P ]
In a stunning announcement this morning, Sega released news that it would be merging with the Pachinko manufacturer and video game publisher Sammy Corporation of Japan (yes, the parent company of American Sammy).
Sammy, best known in the U.S. for their many arcade games released on the Neo*Geo platform (eg, Viewpoint), has been a long time developer of console games as well for nearly ever major platform since the NES (releasing games such as Might & Magic, Twin Cobra, Silk Worm, and the sought after collectable Vice: Project Doom to name a few). Of notable recent release has been Guilty Gear X for Dreamcast and Guilty Gear X2 for PlayStation 2.
It has been indicated that Sammy President Hajime Satomi will assume the top post at the new company, while the designation of Sega President Hideki Sato is yet to be decided at this time.
"As one of the top slot and pachinko machine makers, Sammy has been aiming to become a comprehensive entertainment firm," Satomi told a snap news conference. "With Sega's game content development capabilities and its operational (knowledge) of amusement facilities, (Sammy) can establish a presence as a new entertainment firm in the global market."
Officials said the details should be agreed upon by May so that the agreement can be presented for official endorsement at regular shareholders' meetings in June.
Satomi noted he was in favor of keeping the Sega name, saying they plan to "globally expand the Sega brand."
In a separate quote Sega's Sato noted, "Our biggest problem is in the consumer (game) business. We have to review from scratch our business strategy and cost structure."
What this means at this time for future planned console releases is unclear, as is how this will affect Sega's relationship with Microsoft and development for the X-Box platform. It can be assumed that Sammy's first priority will be to cut development that offers a poor return on their investment, and that clearly bodes poorly for the Microsoft given the sluggish sales of X-Box releases to date.

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