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Sega Mobile

From Sega Retro

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Fast facts on Sega Mobile
Founded: 2002-04-18[1]
Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA

Sega Mobile was a division established within Sega.com (a division of Sega of America) to tackle the then-emerging mobile video games market. It was founded in April 2002 and initially run by Ryoichi Shiratsuchi[1]. Sega Mobile was responsible for Sega's mobile content in North America - other regions of the world were handled differently.

Sega Mobile was established as part of an initial mobile "boom" in the early-2000s, as mobile phone and handheld PDA technology was accelerating at a rapid pace. Sega had already been catering for such a market in Japan, where at the time of this US branch's launch, was estimated to involve 2.5 million users subscribing to "wireless content"[1]. It was widely expected by industry analysts that similar growth would occur stateside, leading to a multi-billion dollar industry for Sega to take advantage of.

Sega Mobile was not the first venture into this market for Sega (a deal with Motorola was announced in June 2000 for their line of iDEN-enabled handsets), but it was the first concentrated effort to bring multiple games to multiple handheld platforms. Progress began in May 2002 after a deal was signed with US carrier Sprint[2], the first game being Sega Monkey Ball[3].

Sega Mobile added other carriers and platforms to its list towards the end of the year and into 2003, including Pocket PC[4], AT&T Wireless mMode[5], BREW[6] and Palm OS[7]. It later made a deal with publisher Handago to increase the number of distribution outlets[8].

Sega Mobile charged for its games, which were downloaded through 3G services. Many of the earlier games offered through the service were designed to stop working after 30 days forcing the user to re-purchase software.

Sega's US arm produced very little of the content offered through the service - roughly half the games were outsourced to smaller development teams (typically simpler or original titles), while the other half were brought over from Japan (usually arcade or console conversions). The US operation never matched the volume or diversity of titles available in Japan, whose market was far more mature at the time and had more capable handsets on general sale. Furthermore Sega Mobile would stop openly advertising older games and possibly pull them off the market, while in Japan games were available for much longer.

Products for Nokia's N-Gage platform, were not handled directly by Sega Mobile, with responsibilities instead going to the parent company.

Sega Mobile continued its operations throughout the decade, however accelerated change in the mobile market led to two dominant mobile platforms; iOS and Android. Sega Networks was established in 2012 to cater for this new smartphone market - Sega Mobile subsequently found itself without platforms to support, and so likely folded back into Sega of America.

Softography

J2ME

Pocket PC

Palm OS

BREW

Unknown

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Press release: 2002-04-18: Sega.com Enters Wireless Gaming Market With the Launch of Sega Mobile
  2. Press release: 2002-05-20: SEGA MOBILE AND SPRINT ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE FOR GROWING WIRELESS GAMES MARKET
  3. Press release: 2002-08-15: SEGA MOBILE ROLLS OUT ITS FIRST WIRELESS GAME WITH SEGA Monkey Ball
  4. Press release: 2002-09-23: Sega Mobile to Deliver Gaming Content to the Pocket PC; Company Offers Classic SEGA Titles to Burgeoning Wireless Market
  5. Press release: 2002-10-14: Sega Mobile and AT&T Wireless Join Forces to Bring Wireless Gaming to mMode Customers
  6. Press release: 2003-02-03: SEGA Mobile Delivers Arcade Hits and Extreme Sports Games for QUALCOMM's BREW™ Platform
  7. Press release: 2003-04-16: Sega.com and Palm Bring SEGA Games to the PDA Market
  8. Press release: 2003-05-13: Sega Mobile Delivers J2ME™ Games through Handango
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