Simon Jeffery on...a lot of things

Simon Jeffery on the iPhone and the Dreamcast:

“Speaking with SEGA of America president Simon Jeffery earlier today he noted that the iPhone is about as powerful as the publisher’s console the Dreamcast. Jeffery said the company is delighted with how their iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball has been received by the phones many owners and detailed how the developer plans to take advantage of what he calls an upcoming and potentially major new platform for gaming.” … -dreamcast

Simon Jeffery on E3 2008:

?E3 was a strange beast this year. We had an extremely strong product showing, had some great meetings, and got our messaging over pretty strongly ? all at an event that had all the atmosphere of a large hospital corridor.?

Simon Jeffery and on SEGA:

" Who do you see as Sega’s competitors?

Simon Jeffrey: Over the last few years we’ve been competitive with the likes of Capcom, Midway and Eidos. We’ve doubled our market share year on year. We’re now looking at THQ as our nearest competitor in terms of market share. We don’t intend to be an Activision or an Electronic Arts–one of those juggernauts. We’re actually really happy where we are. We can be small and agile and yet extremely profitable and successful. It really feels like this year we’re competing with the next tier up, and THQ is a good company for us to model ourselves on and go after in terms of market share.

What’s your plan of action?

We have a strategic road map that identifies areas we want to play in and the number of acquisitions we want to look at. We’re fairly detailed about that–it’s been one of the ingredients in our recent success. We’ve tried to look backward before we look forward. We look at everything that we have done wrong and the industry has done wrong, as well as looking at the companies who have grown successfully and figure out what they’ve done to grow successfully.

How do you view Activision now that its merger with “World of Warcraft” developer Blizzard Entertainment will create the largest company in the videogames industry?

[Activision Chief Executive] Bobby Kotick is one of the smartest people in the business. The way he’s constructed Activision is really admirable. So many companies in this business want to be No. 1 right away. They want to grow, and they want to grow right now. They blow it because they burn out.

Bobby has grown Activision in stages over a long number of years to get to this point. And it’s very calculating and very clever the way he’s done that. Activision has also managed to be the first company in this business to market games properly. Anyone who can turn a hardcore brand like “Call of Duty” into a 10 million unit seller ? is outstanding. I think that Activision is going to take some catching and their profitability is unmatched.

With Activision’s success in mind, how do you view Electronic Arts’ ongoing attempt to acquire Take-Two Interactive?

It feels like EA kind of needs [Take-Two], but it probably shouldn’t have made it so public that it really needed it. I think that it’s losing some investor confidence; the stock price is at a three-year low. And it seems like EA has been the petulant child instead of the professional market leader. However it’s EA, and it’s really good at coming back.

Looking at these two juggernauts–Activision and EA–where has Sega learned the most lessons?

I think from everywhere. We’re in the fortunate position of being fairly comfortable [as] the No. 6 publisher. We don’t feel like we’re forced to compete. We’re not forced to try to make rash acquisitions just to get to No. 1–that affords us to sit back and look at what’s going on everywhere.

Again, I think one of the issues and mistakes that this very young industry has had over the last decade has been not spending enough time to reflect on what’s going on. That’s something which we’re really trying to be very cognizant of and be aware of what’s going on in the marketplace and be reactive to it.

Where do you want Sega to be in five years?

Five years is a long time in this business, but I really hope we’re going to be a top-five publisher. I can’t believe us not being a top-five publisher on a global basis, not just in North America. I think that’s something [that] will be tremendous.

Where I would really like for us to be is at the cutting edge of every platform, to be the go-to publisher for Sony with its next system and with Microsoft with its next system. We kind of are like that with Nintendo right now, and thanks to our relationship with Apple, we are kind of like that on the iPhone at the moment. But I want to really get that same kind of recognition with Microsoft and Sony. We have solid relationships, but when they’re launching a new platform I want them to come to Sega to build their killer app.

How are you going to get there? Through acquisitions? Development deals?

I think at the moment, because of the climate, we’re looking at development deals. However, if the right opportunity came along, we would happily be there. We still have plenty of cash in the bank and a willingness to spend it for the right thing. But recently there have been some insane developer acquisitions with some insane valuations, and suddenly all the developers think they’re worth ten times what they actually are. They’re all kind of talking silly currency right now. It’s not a good climate for studio acquisitions.

That said, we’re constantly looking to forge new relationships with development talent. A lot of the bigger, high-profile developers have been acquired. That’s kind of a cyclical thing in the industry that fosters birth at the other end. You’re getting a lot of start-ups on the other end from real high-end talent coming out of internal studios at the big publishers. We’re really interested in fostering a lot of relationships with start-ups and existing talent.

What’s the most exciting thing happening in the games industry right now?

The most interesting thing is the mass acceptance of gaming. It’s gone from being kind of a nerdy, exclusive niche activity to probably the preeminent form of entertainment in North America. Pretty much every kid born in North America is going to be a gamer, which means that the market is only going to get bigger from here. I’ve been in the game business for 22 years, and that’s the most noticeable thing: this tangible cultural feel that gaming is huge and everyone wants to be a part of it. I think the gaming business is in a healthy state right now. There will continue to be casualties, but that’s just like every business. " … 0sega.html

He seems like a very smart guy. I can’t actually criticize much of what he has to say.

IMO, Sega is still in a defensive ride-the-waves kind of battle stance rather than boldly pushing ahead without fear of consequences. But that’s not a bad thing.

Here’s hoping they bring Yakuza 3 over.

The only problem I have with anything he’s said is his dire excuse for why Sega don’t release Arcade games on XBLA and VC.

“We lost the source code”

Even if they did lose the source code (and I believe they did), System 16 and System 32 source code is not going to be of much use to an Xbox 360.

And Sega of Japan don’t seem to have any problems re-programming Model 2 games from scratch for PS2 etc (Contrary to popular belief, Sega Rally 1995 etc on PS2 are not emulated, however the older titles such as Galaxy Force etc are).

Not emulated but rather ported since they did have the sources available I imagine.

Saturn emulation is tough as hell since dedicated groups haven’t perfected it after all these years (like they’ve done with PlayStation) but porting should be much easier seeing all the Saturn titles with PC versions, from the likes of Panzer Dragoon to Virtua Fighter 2, even Last Bronx and Sega Touring Cars if I remember right (maybe not).

[quote=“Al3xand3r”]Not emulated but rather ported since they did have the sources available I imagine.


Sega Rally, Nights and quite a few other games were converted rather than ported.

Conversion = reprogrammed from scratch.

Having assembley source code for any old Arcade board will be as equally useless for porting as it is for running directly on a PS2/Wii/Whatever because of how hardware related it is. Very small portions of it could be decompiled and translated at best, but do not expect anything that even ‘sort of’ works.

Vf2, Nights, Sega Rally, Virtual On, Fighting Vipers for PS2= reprogrammed.

The PC versions of most Saturn-era games were sadly graphically based on the Saturn versions rather than the Arcade versions, the exception to this being VF2, which had the light sourcing and character models reimplemented, although still used the 2D backgrounds of the Saturn version.

Links to that information please, something better than just calling it a “conversion” instead of a “port” since I’m sure the meaning of the words can overlap…

Either way even if that’s true I’m sure it helps to have the source to know exactly what the game needs and with programming knowledge know more or less exactly what it would take to have the same functions created in a different language. It’s certainly going to be harder to basicaly remake a full RPG from scratch even if you can use the original art assets. What would they do, replay it to see what causes what?

I remember reading something about how Sony requires graphical updates for the PSN, and you need the source code for that. I don’t know…

[quote=“Al3xand3r”]Links to that information please, something better than just calling it a “conversion” instead of a “port” since I’m sure the meaning of the words can overlap…

What would they do, replay it to see what causes what?[/quote]

Porting from a Sega Saturn to a PS2 is not really something that can, be done. Unless the game was written in C+, which none of them were, as codes written in high level langauges are very inefficient at CPU usage (which was criticle on Saturn).

If they have the original pseudo-code and design diagrams, that is all they need to make the game again from scratch in a new language. Source would help as a reference, but it is a very limited resource to have when it is so wildley incompatible with modern day machines, and requires the programmer looking at the code to have both an understanding of the code and in depth understanding of the hardware it is running on.

If they do not have these again, then essentially, yes they will have to do just that (Make an approximation of the game based on playing it). That is how most Arcade games were converted to Commodore 64 in days of old.

If you want to “port” a game written in assembley that uses two SH-2 Processors to the PS2, go ahead and be my guest, but it will get you nowhere.

Port is derived from portability - this means the ability of code to run on more than one machine. Assembley code is not portable, as it is entirley context sensitive to the hardware it runs on.

SEGA did not comission NiGHTS for PS2 to a team of Chinese programmers to simply “port” the game.

The information can be found in the credits of the game, words like “Reprogrammed” and “Conversion Staff”.

Play the games.

At the very least they will need complete data tables and engine protocols, otherwise it will amount to a rebuilding of the game, and only an approximation of the ‘feel’ of the mechanics and spacial arrangements. So in the worst case scenario they would indeed be required to decompile all the code and ferret out every function pertaining to control response and collision calculations etc…

Which is certainly possible, but could still be quite an undertaking.

Apparently back in the “WOW! 8-BITS!” days, some developers were brave enough to actually try and convert games from one platform to another with nothing more than video documentation of the game (IE… videos of it being played all the way through) This would indeed explain why many of the mutli platform games back then varied so widley between platforms.

OutRun for the Sega Saturn is a “reprogrammed” game, and out of all of the conversions it is the most accurate in terms of gameplay, graphics and sound.
Although the version included on OutRun 2 is emulated so it essentailly is the arcade version, but they had to alter a few of the bitmaps to avoid copyright issues.

Still, I’d be willing to settle for an “approximation” of Panzer Dragoon Saga any time :anjou_love:

Looking ahead and not back is probably their best course of action. As long as the Sega brand becomes synonymous with quality again, the average consumer can’t complain.

Any pics on Yakuza 3 emerged yet? I have so much catching up to do one of these days.