Interviews

Sega's Mike Hayes

The publisher's Western president looks to the future...

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Riders, funnily enough, is actually where the boundary is grey, and we like to say it will appeal to both. The feedback we're getting from retailers is that because it's branded is very popular both in America and Europe, it's an easier sale when they're talking about Kinect to consumers - "look you've got Sonic".

So whether it's the core gamer that wants Kinect titles that are more gamey or whether it's the animals game-type [type of consumer] I think Sonic fits in between.

So I'm hoping we get a bit of both on that but until we see where Kinect ends up in terms of who is going to buy it, and the price point is interesting, it's difficult to call.

What did you make of Kinect and Microsoft's presentation at E3? Generally, our audience seemed to be disappointed with it in comparison to the Sony and Nintendo showings...
By the 360 presentation?

By the 360 presentation.
Why was that?

Not only because it was Kinect-focused, but because the games MS showed for Kinect perhaps didn't live up to the hardware revolution that was hinted in 2009...
Right, because they showed dance and because they showed keep fit stuff.

In the year before we saw something that looked like it was going to be a massive step forward for technology...
I think that's probably a bit harsh. The dev kits we've had to work on have been exponentially improving over the period we've had them. The amount you can do out of the blocks is actually made pretty tricky.

I think what Microsoft have got is a vision of where that's going to go, I think when we're here this time next year Kinect will have more of the features that will be and are available on it.

My guess is when we're at E3 next year, more of the features of Kinect will be in use by developers. I think you'll find more clever and sophisticated applications then.

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It is a reasonably complicated piece of kit, therefore it's going to take us longer to use all of those aspects in a game. We're not going to be able to develop something [for the hardcore] in under a year, which is frankly what we've had.

As developers, we understand that. [PlayStation] Move is probably slightly different because we've been involved with that kind of motion control with Wii and to be honest what we did with EyeToy etc. before, so it's probably easier for Sony to show and deliver more right now.

As I say, this time next year I think there will be more intuitive uses of Kinect which will probably appeal to a more sophisticated audience.

Is that something Sega is interested in? Creating a more a sophisticated title or titles for Kinect that may appeal to a hardcore gamer?
Yeah. We want to do more clever things on it - create original ways of using it, rather than just taking existing ideas and not just doing the same thing. Having said that, of course, with the success that we've had with Wii, there are a lot of motion games we would like to reinvent for Move and Kinect.

We've got a tech group based in England, in Southall [Middlesex]. We took them from the Racing Studio when we closed that as it was actually a very good team - we just couldn't find something for them to do. They're sat with their test tubes and Bunsen burners and that's exactly what they're doing - using the new devices to see what we can do in an original way.

We've got one good idea and hopefully something will be out the back end of next year, perhaps early 2012, which we think will use the aspects of Kinect a lot more originally and in a more sophisticated way.

Last time we spoke a big theme was you said you needed to woo the hardcore a little more on PS3 and 360 - and that was reflected in your market share. How's that plan working out?
Well we had a boost with Aliens vs. Predator, so that kind of moved us up that chart. Alpha Protocol has done okay - it hasn't done as well as we had hoped. I think time was probably an issue in terms of when we launched it with everything else that was going on.

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