This made my day.

Is Sega planning a return to the console market?

by Don Reisinger

If you’ve read the Digital Home for the past two years, you probably know that I hold a special place in my heart for Sega. I was always a heavy Genesis user and subsequent to that, I owned every console Sega released. That’s precisely why a report from Siliconera has me excited.

According to the publication, Sega has trademarked two names, “Ringwide” and “Ringedge,” as well as a logo containing rings. The trademark clearly says that the names will be used for “arcade game boards…stand alone video game machines, [or] arcade game machines with built-in screens.”

SEGA Ringedge, Ringwide new console?
Sega’s new console logo?
(Credit: Sega)

So what can this mean? Obviously it’s too early to tell, but some are saying that it could be Sega’s return to the arcade business. I’m sure they would get excited about that, but the arcade business is a shadow of its former self. Since console gaming became a mainstay, it has lost much of its importance. I just don’t see Sega investing in the arcade business.

But what if this filing is for a top-secret console the company is developing to compete with the next-generation of hardware? Will Ringwide or Ringedge take on the Wii 2, PlayStation 4, and Xbox 720?

I certainly hope so.

I not only think Sega can make a triumphant return to the console business, I think it could be one of the best moves the company could make.

As a software developer, Sega has lost much of its appeal. Sonic games aren’t nearly as fun as they once were on the Genesis or Dreamcast and major Sega franchises like Shenmue have been all but forgotten by the company.

But if it developed a console to compete with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, I think Sega could turn things around. Granted, its executives have said on numerous occasions that they are happy developing games, but the company still enjoys an almost mystical reputation in the market and its following is still loyal.

For those of us who grew up in the days of Genesis-SNES wars, the very thought of a new Sega console gets us excited. If Sega announced its intention to get back into the console market at this year’s E3, I’d fully expect fanboys from Japan to Europe to North America to stand in unison and cheer wildly after hearing the news. It would be a monumental announcement that would put Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo on notice: Sega is back.

I’m fully aware that getting into the console market now is dangerous. Nintendo is enjoying incredible success and the once-dominant PlayStation is trying desperately to keep up with competitors. Some might think that there isn’t any room in the market for another player. I disagree.

Sega has a loyal following that has been asking for a new console from the company ever since the Dreamcast was discontinued. Sega also understands how to be successful in the hardware business and has the first-party properties in place to be a major competitor to Nintendo’s lineup on launch day.

Sega also has learned from its past mistakes. It now knows not to release a console the same day it’s announced to a select group of retailers and it now knows to start playing nice with developers. It now knows that to be successful, it doesn’t need to be the first console out of the gate, but it certainly needs to provide the most innovative and fun gameplay.

But time is running out. Sega may be loved by millions across the globe who still hold their Genesis and Dreamcast in high regard, but our memories fade and we move on to new things. If Sega waits too long to release a console or doesn’t release a device at all, an entirely new generation of gamers will mature in an age where they will never know Sega as anything but a software developer. Once that happens, the importance (and appeal) of a new Sega console would be lost on them.

That’s why Sega needs to act now. It needs to announce Ringwide or Ringedge at E3 this year and finally stake its claim to the hardware business.

Bring on the Ringwide, Sega. We’ve been waiting long enough.

5 comments

  1. Getting back into the console biz would be the worst thing Sega could do. They are finally beginning to turn themselves around. Getting the kind of capital to start R&D on a new console, never mind actually manufacturing it, is far outside their capabilities right now. There is so much more potential for them to make money just developing software. As it stands right now, they can make games for any of the 3 major consoles, giving them good reach and sales potential. Releasing their own console wound mean that they would probably have to switch to only developing for themselves (doing anything else would be counterproductive). There is barely enough room for 3 consoles in the marketplace right now, do you really think the time is right for a 4th? Sure, Sega has a loyal fanbase. Great. Every video game company has a loyal fanbase. Would you buy a new Atari console? Maybe a nice new Colecovision?

    “The trademark clearly says that the names will be used for “arcade game boards…stand alone video game machines, [or] arcade game machines with built-in screens.”
    You say it’s too early to tell, but it looks to me like they are developing exactly what it says, an arcade cabinet. They never got OUT of the arcade business so I don’t see why you’d think it would be anything else.

    Sega’s franchises (Sonic et al) are in the dumps right now. But they are one or 2 good IP’s away from resurrecting their brand. They are already starting to break that ground with games like Madworld and The Conduit. The software biz is where Sega belongs right now.

  2. They did good with Platinum Games. But the arcade business is in a slump right now. But you can always hope.

    If you read back into the history of the DC, you see it was meant to be a swan song. It’s a miracle the company still exists. Especially with their milking cow techniques on certain franchises which went down the crapper tube faster than the peed of light.

  3. I hope sega comes back soon,
    I like to surf the internet
    with my dreamcast and have the
    planetweb 3.0 web browser for
    the dreamcast, it’s ok for surfing
    the internet in general, but is
    incompatible with most secure sites
    because the javascript is a newer
    version than that of planetweb 3,0. In
    fact I’m on the dreamcast now
    leaving this reply. I wish sega would
    make a comeback and make another
    dreamcast with greater surfing capabilities
    which includes 128 bit encryption or maybe
    even 256 bit encryption and the ability to
    shop online. Also it would be neat to be
    able to watch videos and listen to music
    as well and of course the Super Awesome
    Realistic Games. Dreamcast is superb for
    surfing the web because it does’nt suffer from
    spyware and hacker problems as the p.c does,
    or none that I’m aware of.

  4. “So what can this mean? Obviously it’s too early to tell, but some are saying that it could be Sega’s return to the arcade business. I’m sure they would get excited about that, but the arcade business is a shadow of its former self. Since console gaming became a mainstay, it has lost much of its importance. I just don’t see Sega investing in the arcade business.”

    1.I do, Sega’s only profitable division is their arcade division.
    2. Sega NEVER left the Arcade business.
    3.The parts stated to be in this “Console” are not wise choices.

  5. Ringedge and Ringwide are arcade pcbs,sega wont get back into the console market,the console market is in danger by means of all the rampid pirating going on,soon if it dosnt colapse like the music industry,it will be streaming or buying games online and locked to your console.
    sega is staying in the arcade buisness because its makes them money.
    well in japan anyway,they dont really care about the rest of the world 🙁
    console software developers arnt doing as well as they used to,midway filed for bankrupcy early this year,what does that say about the console market,they shouldnt have left the arcade scene or they might be still around.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.