Sega to Enter Chinese Game Software Market in June
Sega, in the midst of a dramatic transformation to a game software maker after pulling the plug on its loss-making Dreamcast game console business, is to release two game titles for personal computers (PCs) in China on June 15, through an alliance with a local game developer.
The Beijing-based partner, Merix Interactive Entertainment, owned by investment Hong Kong firm Hisun Ltd, will collaborate with Sega in producing Chinese-language versions of its games and Sega products will be sold via Merix's sales network in China, a Sega spokeswoman said.
The decision also reflects moves by the Chinese government to do more to protect software copyright, the spokeswoman said.
Sega, along with other Japanese game software creators, has not sold games, including game machines, in China due to concerns about illegal copying.
The Tokyo-based company, known for its "Sonic The Hedgehog" game character, aims to launch more than 13 PC games -- transplanted versions of existing titles -- within this year, with the goal of selling 1.5 million units by June next year, the spokesman said.
"By next June, we hope to have 10 percent of the Chinese game software market, which is growing rapidly and now has an estimated 19 million users," she said.
Hit by a hefty charge from zapping the Dreamcast console, Sega last month reported a record net loss for the past year and is stepping up efforts to expand software sales to return to profit this year for the first time in five years.
It has already released a software title for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance handheld game console, and is developing games for other machines including Sony Corp's PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Corp's Xbox, which goes on sale in November.
Shares in Sega rose 1.79 percent to close at 2,270 yen in Tokyo on Wednesday, compared with a slight decline in the key Nikkei average.