Sega GameWorks

From Sega Retro

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Sega GameWorks L.L.C. was an American company which managed and operated the GameWorks chain of arcade centers.

Conceived by Steven Spielberg and Skip Paul, the company was founded in 1996 as a joint venture between Sega Enterprises, MCA (the parent company of Universal Studios), and DreamWorks SKG[2][3]. Sega would provide the technology, Universal had expertise in theme parks, and DreamWorks offered the creative leadership; the net result was to provide "the quintessential entertainment destination, delivering the best social experience around games".

Sega was the biggest player in the arrangement, investing 46% of the assets (worth roughly $200 million USD), with MCA and DreamWorks investing 27% each[4]. It is thought Sega had been planning to bring its Amusement Theme Park (ATP) concepts to North America (as it had done in Japan and Europe), but by entering into a joint venture, the plan became to open "Family Entertainment Centers" (FECs) across North and Latin America instead.

As part of the investment package, Sega GameWorks became responsible for Sega's arcade game sales in the North America, taking these responsibilites from Sega Enterprises USA (who would only handle manufacturing).

GameWorks opened its first venue in the United States in March 1997 with GameWorks Seattle[5], and would subsequently launch several GameWorks (and smaller "GameWorks Studios" venues) across the Americas.

While initial plans were to open potentially hundreds of sites across the US, the GameWorks concept is not thought to have a success. While the "Games Sales Division" had continued to be successful under its new banner, the GameWorks venues were not, and suggestions that DreamWorks and MCA were keen to get out of the venture were circulating by mid-1998.

On 3rd August 1998, Sega themselves returned the games sales side of the business to Sega Enterprises USA[6], likely after reorganisation plans put forward by new president, Shoichiro Irimajiri.

DreamWorks pulled out of the venture in early 2001, with Sega and MCA purchasing its shares. In March 2004, GameWorks L.L.C. declared bankruptcy[7][8], and its stores were sold to a newly formed Sega Entertainment USA subsidiary of Sega[9].