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Sega Saturn launch takes consumers and retailers by storm; retailers struggling to keep up with consumer demand.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 19, 1995--Just one week after the surprise announcement of Sega Saturn's immediate availability nationwide, retailers are clamoring to fill consumer demand for Sega's next-generation videogame hardware and software.

Sell-outs across the country at Software Etc., Babbages, Electronics Boutique and Toys R Us retail outlets have stimulated new growth in the industry, following a traditionally slow first quarter.

``The early launch of Sega Saturn has injected new excitement in the consumer electronics industry,'' said Mike Ribero, executive vice president of marketing at Sega of America. ``We based our decision to launch now on the pent-up consumer demand for next-generation game experiences -- initial feedback from our retailers indicate that we were right on the mark.''

Taking the industry by storm, Sega Saturn was shipped to retail outlets across the country on May 11. The surprise announcement coincided with Sega President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Kalinske's keynote address at the first-ever Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

``Consumer response to the launch of Sega Saturn has been exceptional,'' said Jeff Griffiths, senior vice president at Electronics Boutique. ``We're selling Sega Saturn hardware and software just as fast as it comes in -- and consumers on waiting lists account for a majority of our forthcoming shipments.''

At launch, 30,000 Sega Saturn units were distributed nationally. As production ramps up throughout the summer and additional retailers are added, Sept. 2 -- ``Saturnday'' -- marks an important milestone as Sega Saturn and approximately 20 software titles will be in full, national distribution.

Feedback from key retailers -- Babbages, Software Etc. and Toys R Us -- echo the retail and consumer excitement about Sega Saturn.

According to Opal Ferraro, chief financial officer of Neostar Retail Group -- the holding company for Software Etc. and Babbages -- keeping Sega Saturn on the shelves has been a challenging and exciting task.

``We are expecting virtual sell-outs in our retail stores across the country,'' she said, ``and we're extremely excited about what the consumer is saying about Sega Saturn and its software.'' Ferraro also noted that ``Daytona U.S.A.'' and ``Panzer Dragoon'' are leading the pack in software sales.

Currently, Sega Saturn is accompanied by six launch titles including ``Virtua Fighter'' -- which is free with every Sega Saturn unit and included in the box -- ``Daytona U.S.A.,'' ``Panzer Dragoon,'' ``Worldwide Soccer'' and ``Pebble Beach Golf Links.'' According to retailers, individual software sales have exceeded expectations.

``The ratio of hardware to software sales has been phenomenal,'' added Griffiths. ``We're seeing consumers purchasing an average of almost two additional software titles -- particularly `Daytona U.S.A.' and `Panzer Dragoon' -- with their hardware purchases. This is especially exciting since `Virtua Fighter' is already packed in the box.''

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.

Sega of America's Internet addresses are: http://www.segaoa.com (World Wide Web); GO SEGA (CompuServe Forum); segasaturn@segaoa.com (e-mail); and ftp.segaoa.com (ftp site).

CONTACT: Manning, Selvage & Lee, Universal City, Calif.

Kelly Smith/Lee McEnany, 818/509-1840
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 19, 1995
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