The adventures of SEGA
Let us not forget the French launch of the Dreamcast, its online connectivity and the brief rebirth of the brand.
Some anecdotes will be told to you including one about Propeller Arena.
This is a compendium of end-to-end information that I archived over a period of 6 years. They may reflect the experience of individuals and not necessarily reality. Good reading !
A glimpse into the history of Sega France through the ages
For the record, Virgin Loisirs became Sega France at the end of 1991, Sega Japan having taken over direct distribution. These pioneers will be called the "historical". It was a team, a big family where they had the feeling of working with wonderful colleagues.
Team Sega France, launch of the Dreamcast
The Sega brand was in the top 5 of the most well-known company names behind Coca Cola according to an in-house study carried out during the Megadrive period. The "Sega is stronger than you" ads have helped a lot.
At the beginning of the nineties, the sales figures exploded, a merciless war was declared against Nintendo. It was another time when money was flowing, there were seminars in the islands with buyers, for the 1993 Formula 1 season the whole team had gone to Le Mans by TGV to visit the paddocks. We will also remember the millions injected for the European Formula 1 Grand Prix in the same year.
The Sega train was an abyss in cost. It was the record of money spent per target hit. They had calculated the number of visitors / budget. He couldn't "technically" reach more people.
Euro Challenge, Sega train
The war between manufacturers was still good, there were tensions like us between Super Nintendo players and Megadrive. The meetings between the various representatives and manufacturers were warmly communicated.
The failure of the Saturn marked the end of Sega France's first period. A Saturn at 2900 francs could not compete with a Playstation at 1990 or 2490 francs. Ridge Racer was running in all outlets, the Sony wave was starting.
The Saturn vs PlayStation had been a drama. There were not many parts and the price was exorbitant, the Saturn, a suicide announced.
After Sega Japan's mistakes in firing all game designers (Saturn period), there was the creation of a lot of third parties including Acclaim who picked up tech from Sega. Hardly any third party has developed a game for the Saturn because of the maneuver in Tokyo of treating everyone like pawns.
The Sony group had considerable means to impose itself and especially the financial means to obtain temporary exclusives with third-party publishers.
In six months, Sega was no longer making any sales, Christmas 1995 was the beginning of the end. After voluntary departures, the Japanese made a great social plan. By June 1996, more than 150 people had left the company. Sega was just a shadow of herself. This will close the first chapter of Sega France which will have lasted 5 years.
The second period was difficult to live for some "historical", many left in other companies like Sony, Acclaim or Disney. The change of direction and policy is not for nothing.
The renaissance with the Dreamcast was brief. Sega was the zero level of management. Without Isao Okawa's personal fortune, everything would have stopped after the Saturn crash for the reasons seen above.
In Tokyo the atmosphere was unequivocal. As long as Isao Okawa gave the banks the guarantee, it held. In March 2001 he died, everything was closed, the banks said Stop. Japanese management was a disaster and not just for Sega. They couldn't handle it when there was a little wind in the sails.
The departure of the offices of Sega France was done by a great vacuum cleaning. A massive campaign of destruction was launched when Bigben arrived. Very little was saved. Perhaps hot air balloons which unfortunately with the vagaries of time and the cost of storage ended up in the dumpster a few years ago.
When Sega became a third-party publisher, it was hard to adapt and sell to those who were then their competitors.
The commercial failure of the Action Chair Megaddrive !!!
350 Sega Megadrive chairs were sold to Fnac, 600 others were destroyed.
1 armchair = 1 euro for pallet space, imagine the cost of storage!
Outside of Fnac, there were maybe 20 sales! So invoicing of 950 pallets each month by the warehouse. (950 E)
A big plastic rally-like chair mounted on a big joystick with which we turned while leaning, a stupid thing! The employees of Sega France used it to make competitions in the office. Sega tried to offer them to the staff but no one wanted them.
When a salesperson sold 350 pieces at knockdown prices at Fnac, it was party time at the office, Pizza and Coke for everyone! The buyer of Fnac must have regretted his purchase. It was offered with the purchase of a MEGA CD at Fnac.
A helicopter for the Marketing department !!!
For an event which took place in Courchevelle, the Marketing product manager found himself with 12 Dreamcast demonstration units in the lower station. They had no way of getting the equipment up to the top station for a party that started around 9pm.
Caught off guard, at 5 p.m., they found a helicopter and a pilot in the process. He had his furniture ready to be used for his fiesta.
Calculate the price of a rotation for a helicopter then twelve!
What if a stock of Propeller Arena existed !!!
Everyone knows the story of Tetris on Megadrive. The game would have been produced and then its stock destroyed. About ten copies were saved.
The Dreamcast game Propeller Arena may have suffered the same fate. Some at Sega of America make this hypothesis without being able to confirm it.
The release date was scheduled a week after its cancellation. Copies may be lying dormant. If September 11 had not happened (the reason for its cancellation), it would undoubtedly have been delayed. Pre-production copies ( Silver ) were made. No destruction order was given. The stock may still be sleeping in the back of a warehouse!
"The funny thing is the release date was a week away when they canceled it so
I still think there has to be retail copies sitting in a warehouse somewhere! But all of the people I asked told me they were never actually made and that the game was going to be delayed if Sept 11 hadn't happened. Who knows if they were telling the truth
it was canceled solely because of Sept 11. And it was totally done too, packaging and everything, though no retail copies were ever made. Its a good game too! Just bad timing.
I did own a Propeller Arena silver. Maybe someday they will see the light of day! I know they didn't go and destroy anything, so they are somewhere if they were made "
The launch of the dreamcast and its network
The morning of the launch of the Dreamcast in France, the online network was not working. Four Paris-London round trips with a jet specially chartered for SEGA were necessary to resolve the problems by going to BT (English operator). At 9 p.m., the consoles could connect to Dreamarena.
The cost of the Dreamcast's failed launch would have cost more than renting an airplane.
During network tests, one of the numbers assigned by France Telecom to Sega France was the number of an individual. The poor man was getting dozens of modem calls trying to connect!
It would have been possible to operate the online network all over Europe from England. Sega France, for example, had solutions with SFR which relayed for BT . A Relay farm was established in each region. Switzerland, which had to wait a minimum of 6 months to experience the pleasure of the Online, could have been connected from the start in eastern France.
There were 2 launches for the Dreamcast in France, one intimate and one official. At Virgin Champs-Élysées for the sales launch and the official VIP launch party at the France America show .
The Dreamcast with Rocco Siffredi's signature was one of the consoles used during the party at the Virgin Mega Store , the first time Sega connected Dreamarena in public. It was sold a few years ago on Ebay.
Rocco signed the console that gave the official Top of the Dreamcast launch. It is the first public Dreamcast console to have shot in France.
He was a friend of a guy from Sega.
Invitation card for the launch evening of the "Salon France Amérique" dreamcast
Failing to be able to scan it, some photos of a Dreamcast Marketing brochure in relief.
It was designed by Sonic Team in London under the control of marketing France, using the graphic charter defined by Sonic Team London and Tokyo.
It was given to journalists and customers of power plants
Toy's "r" Us, Micromania, Fnac etc ... and newspapers in all media (specialized in games and daily or weekly press) without forgetting specialized TV programs and journalists (Collaro, Drevet, Chevalet).
He explains the network set up for the promotion of the launch of the console.