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shadowfamicom
08-22-2005, 12:38 PM
Stinger REPORT Skinny!
(10/06/05) Information from the recent SEGA Private distributors meeting in Japan has fueled the feeling that the longevity of the Sammy-supported, and SEGA-built architecture, is limited. The Stinger looks at the success achieved by the A-Wave over the few years of its existence, and also what machines will hope to fill the gap that will be left if the hardware is retired. Information on the new Taito TypeX+ upgrade of the PC based architecture and the rumors of a new Konami hardware platform, and new SEGA architecture, while SEGA’s latest shooter goes on test.

(For the full story, go to the Main Report online at – www.thestingerreport.com)

Main REPORT:
The Stinger Asian correspondents were agitated by more than the number of new media on show at the last SEGA Private distributor’s event in Japan last month. The main reason for their concern was offhand remarks by prominent SEGA officials that seemed to date the life expectancy of the Sammy A-Wave architecture.

The brainchild of then Sammy president Hajime Satomi, the A-Wave sees its fourth birthday looming, just as speculation of its demise received credible confirmation. The hardware stemmed from pre-merger days. CSK, previously the core investor in both Sammy and SEGA, had wanted to leverage the vast inventory of SEGA’s failed DreamCast console experiment (i.e., unsold Dreamcast chips) by shoveling these items into an attractively low-cost, versatile coin-op application: AtomisWave. If it had worked, the ploy would have turned SEGA’s liability into Sammy’s assets.

A request by Sammy’s president to play in the video pond needing a new universal game architecture was greeted by SEGA AM4 R&D as a means to redress inventory, placate CSK and achieve control of Sammy video amusement investment, eventually producing the fabled ‘System-X’ hardware, as AtomisWave was known during the R&D stage. Sammy executives, understanding the needs for console-based architecture for amusement application, embraced the platform.

The result was revealed to the world in September 2002 (only later confirmed as the ATOMISWAVE). The A-Wave hoped to offer arcades an open platform with reliable copy proof cartridges, able to relive the JAMMA heydays in a 'one fits all' package. The US satellites going as far as to avoid the original 'deadwood' population plan and create a specific black cabinet to hose the operators a little more. The hope was that the Japanese AM development studios would flock to the platform, developers such as Pskyo, Compile, Treasure, Visco, Tecmo and even Sammy's studio ARC Systems utilized the platform. A rosy future was mapped out and nothing was going to hold it back. But then reality intervened.

The death knell of the A-Wave started sounding with the leaking of an announcement by SNKP in 2004 that they would be abandoning support of the AW-NET infrastructure, after the high-profile adoption of the Sammy hardware. AW-Net, first hinted at in 2002, was a service developed to enable players to connect online with amusement arcades nation-wide (Japan) and to link arcade games to mobile content.

The network was first previewed at the JAMMA Amusement Machine Show in 2003 with the inevitable slick video presentation showing the aspirations of the hoped AW-NET system. Later investigation revealed that the AW-NET was in fact the SEGA ALL.NET system configured for the A-Wave architecture. Along with the IC Card interface, the AW-NET connected with the web and offered mobile phone connectivity with player ranking and un-lock features.

But the actual success of the A-Wave was hindered, always in the shadow of the established and supported SEGA Naomi. Also based n Dreamcast chips, but embracing the much more reliable SEGA R&D infrastructure, the SEGA system could also call upon well known brands and titles, while the A-Wave had to near on prove itself with each release.

For the A-Wave the hoped-for 100 releases before the first year of release was never achieved, (see the original speculation in Stinger #284). What actually happed was more pedestrian:

1 - Sports Shooting USA - Gun / Sport - 2003
2 - Maximum Speed - Driver / Sport - 2003
3 - Guilty Gear X ver.1.5 - Fighter [ARC Systems] - 2003
4 - Dolphin Blue – Shooter - 2003
5 - Premium Eleven - Sport [Dimps] - 2003
6 - Sushi Bar – Puzzle - 2003
7 - Demolish Fist - Fighter [Dimps] - 2003
8 - Knights of Valour: The Seven Spirit - Brawler [IGS] - 2004
9 - Guilty Gear Isuka - Fighter - AW-NET enabled [ARC Systems] - 2004
10 - Chase (Chicago) 1929 - Driver - 2004
11 - Ranger Mission - Gun - 2004
12 - The Rumble Fish - Fighter [Dimps] - 2004
13 - Force Five - Fighter - AW-NET enabled - 2004
14 - Salaryman Kintarou - Puzzle / Net@Select - AW-NET enabled - 2004
15 - King of Fighters NeoWAVE - Fighter - AW-NET enabled [SNKP] – 2004
16 - King of Fighters XI - Fighter - AW-NET enabled [SNKP] - 2004
17 - Dirty Pig Skins Football - Future Sports - 2004
18 - Faster Than Speed – Driver - 2004
19 - The Rumble Fish 2 - Fighter [Dimps] - 2005
20 - Extreme Hunting - Sports Shooting - 2005
21 - Horse Racing / Net@Select - Horse Racing – AW-NET enabled – 2005

-- Rumored To Be In Test --

22 - NeoGeo Battle Coliseum - [SNKP] - 2005
23 - Samurai Spirits AW: Tenkaichi Kenkyakuden - Fighter [SNKP] - 2005
24 - Sammy Vs. Capcom - Fighter [Capcom] - 2005
25 - Metal Slug 6 - Shooter [SNKP] - 2005
26 - Fist of the North Star - Fighter [ARC Systems] - 2005

As can be seen in the later line-up of A-Wave titles, a flood of fighting games has plagued the platform to the point that the Q2 portion of 2005 has seen a new fighter launched each month. This consistent trend has convinced many observers that Sammy is acting like a clearance house, releasing as much as possible to clear the shelves.

Though five Japanese studios were shown at launch of the A-Wave, games have only been seen from Dimps and ARC Systems. New additions of SNKP and IGS promised good IP, but no games from Pskyo, Compile, Treasure, Visco, or Tecmo have been seen causing concern from analysts. It was later galling that those named studios would jump the Sammy and SEGA ship for the Taito TypeX platform. The hoped-for Capcom addition to the fold has also gone painfully quiet, sources observing that with the Namco / Bandai (Banpresto) announcement would put a move to a Sammy / SEGA platform on hold.

Since its launch in 2003, Sammy SEGA claim an installed base of A-Wave architecture at over 11,000 units, but actual individual game sales have been slow. Internationally the platform has lingered in a middle ground of too little, too late. Specifically developed US content has fallen flat, and even the exclusivity of the SNKP brand has proven a millstone, not a milestone…and certainly not a goldmine.

What Could this all Mean:
The biggest hurdle to A-Wave penetration seems to have come from the very people who devised the hardware. The SEGA Naomi has proven a hard act to follow, and it may be fear to say they SEGA may have even loaded the dice in its favor from a distributor’s perspective.

The claim following the merger of SEGA / Sammy that SEGA AM groups may start to develop on the A-Wave look like smoke screens to disguise the demise of the hardware. One rumor of 'legacy' titles from SEGA catalogues being re-released as A-Wave classic cabinet cartridges another pipedream - though some sources are still adamant that this may still come to pass.

With Sammy's short-lived architecture, other platforms will see 2005 as their swan song year. The Taito G-Net, SNK MVS, Namco System 246, and the redoubtable SEGA Naomi-GD ROM will move into retirement. Saying that the Naomi will see three titles released on it this year, and some SEGA sources hint that as the A-Wave vanishes a number may be cannibalized to make up Naomi numbers to fulfill orders.

Replacing these workhorses are the new breed of architecture that fulfills the needs of the new amusement scene. Systems such as the console based SEGA TriForce II or Namco System 258, or the PC based Namco M-2, Taito TypeX and rumored Konami LongHorn.

Not all the new platforms are finding it smooth sailing as the threshold of performance seems to constantly change. One example of this is the leaking of news from Taito GM team at a private presentation of the vitally important new driver ‘Battle Gear 4’ (TypeX+) was in fact incorrectly designated, as Taito has had to upgrade the original hardware specs of the PC architecture to keep up with competitive home systems. The leak revealed the ‘Taito TypeX+’ though the actual performance enhancements have not been leaked, sources did hint that the systems particle effects have been ramped up not to lag behind.

shadowfamicom
08-22-2005, 12:40 PM
****sorry could not fit in one post****

With the leaking of news of the new SEGA architecture at E3 (see #399) the final nail looks to be pounded into A-Wave’s coffin. But for SNKP and Capcom, whether they will wait for a transition, rush to release on the current hardware, or jump ship is a big question for the Asian amusement sector. The rumored new SEGA architecture was leaked to TSR correspondent in a recent interchange. The CHIHIRO replacement has been named ‘LindBergh’, and looks to be based on an enhanced Xbox hardware model, rather than a true Xbox 360 recreation. The new Lindberg hardware is expected to be revealed in the new SEGA shooter ‘House of the Dead 4’.


Stinger Breaking News - While the build-up to the late Asian buying season takes shape; a number of the key brands that hope to be part of the amusement revival have been seen on test. Namco puts its faith in Mario Kart - Taito looks to Battle Gear 4 - Konami with a slew of shooter and dance titles - while SEGA has two big guns to hold the line, the first of which was located by Stinger sources on secret test.

‘House of the Dead 4’ (LindBergh), was on site test in Tokyo in late June, and showed the increased commitment to the AM scene by the number one developer. The new game carries forward the zombie blasting festival, but with some new additions. The first major difference is the use of a large widescreen flat-plasma display for the cabinet. This will be the first fully deployed HDTV-FP cabinet in the market. SEGA AM4 has also pushed the boat out on the player interface with realistic Ingram M11 automatic pistols replacing the previous pump-action shotgun weapon.

The only two playable levels of the game borrowed on many of the tried and tested formulas from the original series, along with other features from the market; a double gun, single player action sequence very reminiscent of the ‘Justice Mode’ from the Raw Thrills shooter. The game was rumored to be running on the new CHIHIRO+ architecture, which was revealed as being called Lindberg, which will also be the target platform for the next Virtua Fighter title - new games in the scene all pointing to interesting times ahead for the market.

Thanks to industrious work by Stinger correspondents, with the revelation of the appearance of the LindBergh (replacing the Naomi 2 and CHIHIRO systems – though leaving the TriForce); the replacement architecture to the A-Wave was leaked to TSR sources. Named the AURORA System (replacing the Naomi GD-ROM and A-Wave), the PowerVR controlled, Imagination Technologies developed system was revealed in a press announcement last year but never named, or the actual performance revealed. Developed in conjunction with SEGA Sammy Holding R&D team SI-Electronics, sources speak of the friendly architecture and reduced build price as a “Taito TypeX beater!”

The system will run LINUX operating system, supporting a flexible development architecture that should appeal to all independent studios that have become fans of the Naomi GD-ROM platform, and are loathed to downgrade to the A-Wave or swallow the expense of the Taito proposal.

DevilRedeemed
08-22-2005, 12:53 PM
old news bro. AW may well be going the way of the dinosaur. stupid if you ask me as SNKP can make good enough use of it to push its software line. but there you go.

shadowfamicom
08-22-2005, 12:58 PM
old news bro. AW may well be going the way of the dinosaur. stupid if you ask me as SNKP can make good enough use of it to push its software line. but there you go.

opps sorry

VanillaThunder
08-22-2005, 03:49 PM
Yay, the stingless report is back...

All the news that's good enough to rehash or just plain make up.

:lol:

editor
08-22-2005, 04:43 PM
opps sorry

No need to be sorry ShadowFamicom. The reason we ran our July Stinger issue at MMCafe was that we were emailed by a member asking for information, but he could not pay for a subscription - as we have some friends at the forum we donated the feature - surprise, surprise every goon claimed they knew all the stuff and that it was old. BUT suddenly our coverage has been circulated in every forum known to man with so many people claiming it as their own stuff or, that they were part of the Stinger.

Look we know that we have a 80% hit rate with pre-AM Show coverage, but at the same time I see no one else gathering the information - please show me the other arcade trade e-Newsletter! But a lot of people claiming they have 'already read'! the news then find it hard to remember where. We live off our credibility and you know what, we celebrate our fifth year and over 500 subscribers this year :)

Just to see how The Stinger Report 'hit rate' is - delve back in this forum and see what reaction we received when we asked for opinions on the news we had been given that SNK-P was going to drop the MVS (that was three months before the official announcement), and just how many 'big shots' shot that down as BS... only to disappear, forget their comments, or claim they were only JOKING when the news broke!!

All the best,

RBjakeSpecial
08-22-2005, 04:52 PM
blah blah blah blah

Dude! Your paper is EXPENSIVE! Can I have a free subscription??????

DevilRedeemed
08-22-2005, 04:54 PM
No need to be sorry ShadowFamicom. The reason we ran our July Stinger issue at MMCafe was that we were emailed by a member asking for information, but he could not pay for a subscription - as we have some friends at the forum we donated the feature - surprise, surprise every goon claimed they knew all the stuff and that it was old. BUT suddenly our coverage has been circulated in every forum known to man with so many people claiming it as their own stuff or, that they were part of the Stinger.

Look we know that we have a 80% hit rate with pre-AM Show coverage, but at the same time I see no one else gathering the information - please show me the other arcade trade e-Newsletter! But a lot of people claiming they have 'already read'! the news then find it hard to remember where. We live off our credibility and you know what, we celebrate our fifth year and over 500 subscribers this year :)

Just to see how The Stinger Report 'hit rate' is - delve back in this forum and see what reaction we received when we asked for opinions on the news we had been given that SNK-P was going to drop the MVS (that was three months before the official announcement), and just how many 'big shots' shot that down as BS... only to disappear, forget their comments, or claim they were only JOKING when the news broke!!

All the best,
you must be a fucking twat or something to write something as long winded as that without considering the backround to my statement. its old because I posted up that very article here if you check - showed that it was you who had posted it.

btw - 80% hit rate is pretty shitty if you think about it. take what you've been saying about SF4 - that could easily fall within the 20% miss rate - right?
I mean you could have said anything and then posted a disclaimer that it may be bullshit or nothing more than a rumour. the other 80% is made up of games very likely to make it to the show anyway.

want to change your tune about the SF4 rumour? what system is it coming out on?

fucking twat..