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Let the games begin: Sega Saturn hits retail shelves across the nation Sept. 2; Japanese sales already put Sega on top of the charts.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 9, 1995--Following on the heels of a smashing November 1994 launch in Japan, Sega of America Thursday announced its much-anticipated U.S. version of the Sega Saturn system -- the ultimate in-home entertainment machine -- will be available across the nation on "Saturnday," Sept. 2.

In Japan, sales of Sega Saturn have totally depleted inventories, forcing Sega to increase manufacturing activity just to meet demand. In its first month alone, sales of the next-generation video game system have topped the charts there, with more than 500,000 sold, and latest results show Sega outselling the competition by more than 30 percent.

Sega Enterprises in Tokyo anticipates selling 1 million units by April, and it expects to exceed 2 million by the end of the year.

The premium hardware platform for the Sega product family, Sega Saturn uses the same technology found in commercial arcade machines, bringing arcade-perfect interactive gaming home to U.S. consumers.

"In less than six months, video gaming will take on a whole different character," said Tom Kalinske, president and CEO of Sega of America.

"Sega Saturn will literally transport consumers into an entirely new realm of interactive entertainment. Sega Saturn games will use never-before-seen 3D-modeled graphics; dynamic perspective with ever-changing points of view that literally weave players in and around the onscreen action; true 3D audio; and gameplay speed that surpasses an ordinary multimedia PC and challenges a high-end workstation."

Powered with eight total processors -- three of which are 32-bit RISC processors -- and Sega's Titan Arcade Architecture, Sega Saturn's sophisticated, proprietary technology paves the way for the company's software to migrate from Sega's interactive theme parks to its commercial arcade systems down to the home-based Sega Saturn system.

Sega Saturn is the only home system to use state-of-the-art "parallel processing," which provides immersive, first-person gameplay experiences. Parallel processing, found in supercomputers, divides computing tasks into pieces which are then assigned to powerful specialized processors.

Competitive game systems are based on assigning all computing tasks to a single central processor, like the processing schemes found on small personal computers. Sega's parallel, or "orchestrated" processing, broadens the programming capabilities for the system, enabling software developers to create stereotype-shattering video game software.

Adding to its superior gameplay features, Sega Saturn has an extensible architecture that allows for these multimedia functionalities: Video CD via an MPEG adaptor, Photo CD, E-Book, audio CD and digital karaoke.

At this time, more than 100 third-party publishers and developers are creating software for Sega Saturn. More than 20 titles will be available at launch with an additional library of 100 games by Christmas '95 from both Sega and third-party developers.

Among the leading third-party software publishers who have announced their support for Sega Saturn are Electronic Arts and Acclaim Entertainment, market-share leaders on the current video game platforms. Electronic Arts plans to release some of its key sports franchise titles, as well as exciting new properties not yet announced.

Acclaim is developing some of its marquee properties for the Sega Saturn, including "Batman Forever," "NBA Jam Tournament Edition," "Frank Thomas Big Hurt Baseball" and "Alien Trilogy."

"We've had a close relationship with Sega for many years," said Larry Probst, chairman and CEO of Electronic Arts. "Sega's enormously popular brand name and trendsetting skills in marketing, combined with their proven strengths in the realm of coin-op games, positions Sega to be one of the key players in the coming hardware battle."

"Acclaim is proud to join with Sega to create the next generation of interactive entertainment software. Combining the strength of Acclaim's properties and motion capture technology -- which allows animation in 3D -- with the advanced playing power of Sega Saturn, we believe we will bring gaming to new elevations," said Robert Holmes, president of Acclaim.

"We've seen previews of software currently in progress at Sega's product development labs that truly illuminate Sega's passion for gameplay excellence and software superiority," added Kalinske. "Games like `Daytona U.S.A.,' `Virtua Cop,' killer sports titles and the arcade-rage `Virtua Fighter' are demonstrative of our commitment to bring the ultimate gameplay experiences into the home."

The proof is in the numbers -- sold separately from the hardware, "Virtua Fighter" is selling at a phenomenal 1:1 ratio with Sega Saturn hardware in Japan.

Sega will launch its most ambitious marketing effort ever in support of Sega Saturn. Although exact terms were not disclosed, the introduction of Sega Saturn will mark the largest global product launch in the company's history. The campaign will include an integrated communications strategy with aggressive advertising, promotional and merchandising efforts.

The addition of Sega Saturn as the latest evolution in the company's superior product line is testament to Sega's leadership role in defining and driving the industry at large. Sega set the benchmark in 1989 when it revolutionized the video game industry with the debut of the first 16-bit system, Sega Genesis.

Fast-forwarding the industry again, Sega was the first company to offer a CD-based game system, Sega CD, and recently expanded the 16-bit market to 32-bit potential with Genesis 32X, the affordable upgrade unit boosting the Genesis system to 32-bit power.

While an exact price has not yet been announced, Sega Saturn will retail between $350 and $450 in the United States. Software pack-in plans have not yet been announced.

Sega of America is the arm of Tokyo-based Sega Enterprises Ltd. responsible for the development, marketing and distribution of Sega products in the Americas. Sega Enterprises is a nearly $4 billion company known as a leader in interactive digital entertainment media, with operations on five continents.

CONTACT: Sega of America, Redwood City

Richard Brudvik-Lindner, 415/802-3658

or

Manning, Selvage & Lee, Universal City, Calif.

Kelly Smith/Kris Gilbert, 818/509-1840, ext. 235
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Date:Mar 9, 1995
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