World of Sega —- Are you in?

The game that has had the Sega Channel team suffering from insomnia for months now and quite possibly the ultimate online RPG. When news came yesterday that PSO was getting an update disc with 2 new worlds, 100 extra levels, a plethora of new weapons and a football mini-game, the Dreamcast suddenly looked like the most hallowed console in the world. Then Sega of Europe crushed that sacred image with news that the disc would never see a release on our shores.

Considering PSO is one of the best selling Dreamcast games ever in Europe, with a growing user base and an addiction factor that will have every game owner buying the extra disc, regardless of cost, SoE need to do some research. In my email this morning, I received no less than 5 petitions from different European gamers pleading for me to publish their complaints directly to Sega Europe. Although petitions are usually futile efforts at convincing big companies to change their policies, I’ve never received such an immediate and direct reaction to a cancelled release. Soul Reaver 2 DC, cancelled last week is small fry in comparison to PSO version 2 in terms of potential sales and is easy to port with the PSO language system in place.

Normally, our advice would be to defy SoE and import PSO version 2, but it may not even see a release in the US according to a Sega spokesperson. Commenting on the release, PR man Stuart Ledger claimed “The game definitely won’t see a European release,” while “the US are considering a release” despite the certain Japanese release. So there you have it, first we miss out on Daytona’s online modes and now we’re going to lack a European version of PSO version 2.

Some sites are claiming that this is Sega’s tactic to get us to buy their games on the PS2, citing our need for better games on a system that is in production. But since when did the PS2 provide a more viable prospect for gamers? In the US and Japan, Sega will continue releasing all their best online titles in the coming year, while we Europeans are getting poor re-hashed versions without online modes or missing out altogether. The PS2 only has GT3 and ISS Evolution coming out to make it a remotely viable prospect for me, with MGS still being the same old rubbish as it was before – an endless reel of cut scenes and a serious lack of in-game action. In the meantime we’ll be seeing Agartha, Black & White, Bomberman Online, Confidential Mission, Crazy Taxi 2, Daytona USA 2001, Gun Valkyrie, Headhunter, Jet Set Radio 2, Outtrigger, Clash Royale, Shenmue II, Sonic Adventure 2, Skies Of Arcadia, The House Of The Dead 3, Virtua Tennis 2 coming out on the Dreamcast this year. By the time all of those games are out, we’ll then have the choice of which console to buy next – Microsoft’s powerful Xbox, Nintendo’s Gamecube or the PS2, which by then will have been shown up for the poor system it is by the competition.

Let’s face it – why is the current Sony games news about PS3 when the PS2 has only been out a couple of months? Could it be that Sony have stuffed up?

Unfortunately, Japan this week also brings us news that Isao Okawa, former president of Sega has passed away due to a heart failure aged 74. Infamous for his massive donation to Sega after their cutback announcement, Okawa-san was reputed in the Japanese games industry for his many successes. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.

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