Dear Sega: We want a console, not handhelds

Sega is developing a PMP. But as Don Reisinger points out, it needs to start developing a video game console.

Reports have surfaced claiming Sega is getting back into the hardware business with a new device called the Vision PMP, slated for a U.K. release in 2009.

The Vision PMP will reportedly be able to play MP4, Java-based games, and double as a camera and eBook reader. There's no word yet if Sega wants to throw the kitchen sink into this thing too, but based on all that, it probably will.

Is it just me or does this device have failure written all over it? You mean to tell me that Sega actually believes this product will be a success? Sure, it might be a success if we compare it to the 32X or something, but when compared to all the other devices in the market, I simply don't see why Sega would even consider playing this game with that device.

Worse, Sega went out of its way to tell the world that its latest device isn't a handheld gaming platform. Instead, its latest hardware can do it all.

What a joke.

Listen, Sega: I realize that this latest ploy to get into the PMP business is a reaction to the fact that you can't sell video games nearly as well as you did in the past, but getting into a different market is the wrong idea. It's time you put all your money down on a console and do it right this time.

It's your only hope.

Has anyone else noticed that Sega is practically nonexistent in today's video game industry? Once the toast of the town, Sega and its mascot have been downgraded to the realm that has historically been filled by such hotshots as Leisure Suit Larry and Alex from Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete.

All the while, Sega's games are being met by a group of people who, to put it simply, just don't care about the games it releases. What happened to the good ol' days when the Sonic series was at the top and other offerings like Shenmue and the 2K Sports series were some of the best games money could buy?

Sadly, they all died when Sega decided it was best to make its way out of the hardware business and get into the software market to try its luck.

Well, that plan failed--miserably.

Because of that, Sega needs to get back into the console business and try one last time to see if it can survive in this age of developer consolidation. It needs to continue making games, but it needs to make those games the backbone of its foray into the console market.

The days of battling it out with Nintendo may be gone, but there's no reason why Sega can't do it again.

There's no debating the fact that it will be hard for Sega to make in-roads in the hardware space, and there's no telling if it will be successful. But is there any other choice at this point? Its software business is crumbling, no one wants any Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and it's being dwarfed by major players like Take-Two and EA.

So instead of wasting its time on PMPs and other crappy hardware devices that will fail sooner than it thinks, Sega needs to take all its money and resources, start forming relationships with third parties, and get ready to make a splash in the next generation's console war.

Sega died out in the hardware market because it turned off both developers and retailers. It needs to actively repair those relationships now as it comes up with its next console and start developing an online component than can match Microsoft's. During that time, it needs to stop wasting money on projects that don't make sense and use its cash to develop the hardware and software it needs to be successful in the next generation.

I never said it would be easy to make it big in the hardware business, but there's really no other option for Sega at this point. It needs to wake up and realize that it's fighting a losing battle and muster all it can to fight in the realm it knows: hardware. And if it fails, at least it went down with a fight this time.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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