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$10 million "NiGHTS" launch is largest ever for Sega Saturn; morphing "NiGHTS" screams Sega in Full Freakin' Frame TV ads; Sega marketing "attitude" grows no moss.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 12, 1996--It is called "the most revolutionary 32-bit game yet" by video game industry oracle Next Generation magazine.

Backed by a marketing campaign of equal stature, the newest Sega Saturn game, "NiGHTS," launches Aug. 20 with more than $10 million in advertising, promotions, and merchandising support.

This campaign, the largest yet for a Sega Saturn game, takes flight Aug. 12 with national TV and print teaser ads for the new dreamtime, 3-D flying adventure game. The "NiGHTS" campaign kicks off Sega of America's fall lineup which will receive more than $60 million in marketing support.

The cornerstone of the "NiGHTS" marketing effort is a multi-million dollar national TV advertising campaign that resurrects the hallmark "Sega Scream" and "challenges Sony with a taste of the sarcastic -- but good-natured -- Sega attitude," according to Shoichiro Irimajiri, chairman and CEO of Sega of America.

"We will grab the consumer's attention not only with our revolutionary games, but with our marketing efforts that have consistently been followed by others in the industry," Irimajiri said. "`NiGHTS' is the most significant game launched for the Sega Saturn to date. It proves the power of our multiprocessor architecture and demonstrates the fresh new direction in game development Sega is taking with titles like `NiGHTS' and those in our fall lineup."

"NiGHTS" Campaign: Focus on Footage

The marketing effort behind "NiGHTS" takes bold new creative steps to bring to life the game's fast flying movement and maximize consumer trial and impact. In addition to bringing back the famous "Sega Scream," Sega's ad agency, Ingalls Moranville Advertising, has incorporated "Full Freakin' Frame Footage" -- a technique they coined for the use of almost-constant full-screen game footage -- in the TV spots.

Ingalls Moranville also devised an ingenious way to bring the power of moving game footage to print advertising. Debuting in August, the "NiGHTS" print campaign will feature multiple rows of consecutive screen shots that, when cut out and stapled together, become a flip book showing what the game looks like on the television screen.

The "NiGHTS" campaign runs from August through December and is designed for mass consumer exposure with national TV ads during prime time programming and 30-second cinema spots in theaters across the country. Thirty malls in major U.S. markets will bring "NiGHTS" to life with morphing 3-D images on 40-inch by 50-inch back-lit displays featuring breakthrough imaging technology from Eastman Kodak Co.

The campaign also includes promotions with high-visibility companies like Fox Kids Network, Cherry Coke, Toys R Us and Tang Instant Breakfast Drink. Additionally, all 5,500 in-store demo units across the country will be playing "NiGHTS."

Sega Saturn Fall Campaign

"The `NiGHTS' campaign is just the tip of the iceberg in what promises to be Sega's most innovative mass consumer marketing program heading into the holiday season," Ted Hoff, Sega's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said. "We're putting as much muscle as possible into showing the consumer the value and appeal of Sega Saturn games because we're convinced that once they see the games, they'll vote Saturn as the `must have' game system this fall."

Sega Saturn sales are strong nationwide, having doubled and tripled in volume sales since the price reduction to $199.99. New hardware shipments are arriving now to replenish sold-out retailers and to meet consumer demand generated by "NiGHTS." Recent sales data indicates that Sega Saturn sales are ahead of schedule to meet the company's 1.5 million unit goal in 1996.

To meet this sales goal, Sega is expanding its marketing and sales efforts in all categories. At $60 million, the Sega Saturn advertising budget has increased by $10 million over last year. The number of in-store demonstration kiosks has been boosted three-fold to more than 5,500 units in major U.S. markets to increase consumer interaction with the products.

And a newly trained team of Sega merchandising managers will be disbursed throughout more than 30 U.S. markets to provide comprehensive hands-on in-store sales support.

Shedding Light on "NiGHTS"

"NiGHTS" is as technically advanced as it is emotionally and visually entrancing. High-speed 3-D flight, real-time reflective imagery, 360 degree movement, shifting gravitational effects and new polygon rendering techniques break new ground in gameplay and graphics. Upon reviewing the game, Die Hard Gamefan editors said it "is one of the most immensely playable games ever" and "is truly something you've never played before."

Sega's Yuji Naka, creator of "Sonic the Hedgehog," developed "NiGHTS," which is as revolutionary today as Sonic's speed and spindash were to the 16-bit video game industry in 1991. Under his direction, the Sonic Team utilized the Sega Saturn's second video display processor and other previously untapped hardware resources to create new interactive experiences that will help other game developers unlock more of the system's potential. This will ensure that Sega Saturn games will continue to set the standard for next generation video games.

"NiGHTS" can be purchased bundled with the new Sega Saturn 3D Control Pad, for a suggested retail price of $69.99; the products can also be purchased separately with "NiGHTS" priced at $49.99 and the controller priced at $39.99. The Sega Saturn 3D Control Pad intensifies the 3-D gaming experience and is compatible with all Sega Saturn games. -0- NOTE TO EDITORS: For Sega's past press releases, go to http://www.businesswire.com/emk.

CONTACT: Sega of America, Redwood City

Angela Edwards, 415/802-3908

or

Manning, Selvage & Lee

Kelly Fitzsimmons, 213/782-6600, ext. 235

("NiGHTS" TV and print ads available upon request)
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Date:Aug 12, 1996
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