Mirai R&D

From Sega Retro

Mirai R&D
Division of Sega of Japan
Founded: 1999
Defunct: 2005-04-01
Merged into: Family Entertainment

Mirai R&D (未来研究開発部 or 未来研) was an arcade research and development division within Sega, and continuation of Sega AM5. Founded in 1999 at a time when Sega's theme park business was in decline, the reformed division placed less focus on large attraction development, instead diversifying itself into providing innovative technology for restaurants, public spaces, and children.

Mirai R&D became Family Entertainment in 2005.



Throughout much of the 1990s, establishing a worldwide network of indoor theme park facilities under the Amusement Theme Park concept was integral to Sega's business interests. However, by the end of the decade, profits from this endeavour were declining. In the midst of a company-wide restructuring that caused considerable job losses and the eventual discontinuation of the Dreamcast, most of the company's parks besides the flagship Tokyo Joypolis were closed or cutdown, new openings were halted, and Sega AM5, the division specifically formed to develop attractions found in them, was reformed and downsized to become Mirai R&D.[1] Whilst still continuing some work on attractions for the remaining indoor theme parks and larger amusement facilities associated with Sega, the division moved towards utilising its remaining resources for new forms of entertainment.

The first publicly released project under Mirai R&D was the Fish "on" Chips interactive restaurant situated in Oasis Park, an outdoor recreational park affiliated with Sega and situated in Gifu prefecture.[2] Using a modified NAOMI version of the virtual aquarium concept first seen in 1997 AM5 project Aquarena for guests to explore underwater environments whilst being served food and drinks, the restaurant proved to be a success, attracting 140,000 visitors in its first five months and winning grand prize in the "Theatre and Exhibition" category of the 1999 Multimedia Grand Prix awards.[3] Off the back of this success, the concept was modified and used by Mirai R&D again in a a less successful 2000 release known as Fish Life,[4] as well as devices for Kura Sushi and McDonalds restaurants in Japan with 2001's Touch de Pon![5][6] and 2002's McDonalds no Touch de Asobo!, respectively.[7]

After his work on the Touch de devices, Hiroshi Uemura, previously the head planner of numerous successful Joypolis attractions, was appointed as the division's new director.[8] Under Uemura, work started on what would become its most successful creation, Mushiking: The King of Beetles.[7] An arcade game targeted towards children, Mushiking became a highly popular franchise across Asia as a result of its usage of collectible cards, eventually winning a world record for the most official tournaments held on one arcade game series.[9] Other projects undertaken by Mirai R&D during the early 2000s included production collaboration with Idea Factory for Mamimume ☆ Mogacho, a children's animation made using Sega's Animanium software,[10] and large attractions for Tokyo Joypolis, in addition to business partnerships with Family Inada and Eishin Metal Industry for the Refresh Shell and Ashi Puri! massage machines.[11][12][13]

In the 2004 restructure, Mirai R&D reformed again, emerging as Family Entertainment the year after. It became a significant area of growth under the new SegaSammy conglomerate, creating further arcade games for children and attractions.




Timeline of Sega of Japan research and development divisions