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Sega's Mike Hayes

President of Sega West discusses new hardware budgets, Wii U and Vita support, and changing Euro markets

Sega knows its own strengths and weaknesses. Sitting down with Mike Hayes, president of the Western business, you don't get the usual marketing script and bullish product placement. Instead he talks openly about the wider market, happy to share observations about the changing console and wider gaming landscapes from Sega's perspective

This interview was conducted at E3, following big first-party announcements for new hardware. Here, Hayes talks for the first time publicly about the Wii U and support for PlayStation Vita, how Sega ring-fences budgets for individual formats, and his observations on the evolving European games market.

GamesIndustry.biz What are you impressions of E3 this year, of the three platform holders?
Mike Hayes

Well there's a lot of good news from first party. We've talked about this so much over the last few days, anything that's new is good, isn't it? It's something for us to talk about, something different. We've given a lot of support to Vita. I think we're the only playable third party code on the stand actually, Virtua Tennis 4. And we gave a commitment to Sony quite a while ago that we would support Vita, and you'll see a lot more announcements on that over the coming months.

And as you know, Sega's reasonably close to Nintendo, so again, we had the first look on Wii U. With Aliens: Colonial Marines we've actually been using the controller, but because we were the only third party that has something working it was decided not show that, quite rightly. And I think Nintendo were right to use that concept approach. Remember when we first saw DS? And it was just concept rather than actual game, and I think that makes sense. So we're really excited about that. I don't think just for the fact that we can convert 360 and PlayStation 3 games over to it, I think what the controller can do it really quite innovative, so that's cool.

Aliens: Colonial Marines is definitely the core franchise that will do best for us as a company

And on Kinect we've definitely bought into that with what Microsoft has been saying, they've done a great job on Kinect, so we've got Rise Of Nightmares exclusively on it, and we're using Kinect functionality in our games going forward. So it's ticked a lot of boxes.

And then I think for us the thing we're most thrilled about is Aliens: Colonial Marines, on the basis that we announced that quite a few years ago and we made a decision to craft it and spend more time with Gearbox, and I think we've been proven right by the response we've had at the show.

GamesIndustry.biz It's one of the busiest demos on the show floor.
Mike Hayes

Yeah, and for us, Sega's quite a broad church of games, I think Aliens is definitely the core franchise that will do best for us as a company. And the response that we've had has just been absolutely second to none. So that's good for us.

GamesIndustry.biz That's good to hear. You said about PS Vita, presumably you're going to be there with releases on day one?
Mike Hayes

We would like to think so, but that's subject to when does the hardware come out, you know, Sony approval, there's a lot of things. That is our ambition and that is our wish to be out day and date with the hardware machine whenever it happens.

GamesIndustry.biz It's still important for Sega to do that? To be first when those new platforms come out?
Mike Hayes

I think so. I mean, we do it because we think it's commercially appropriate but we do believe in the Vita system, and therefore that's why we've given it our support and we think being out first when there's relatively fewer titles is quite important. One of the first titles, Tennis World Tour on PSP, was one of the biggest selling titles. It just suited the platform ideally and as you can imagine with the kind of flick motions that you've now got it suits a tennis game and it's a good demonstrator of what the machine can do.

And our tech guys are really quite excited with other things, and there is a game that we've got in the pipeline, this new IP that we can't talk about yet that will be, I think, of all the things I've seen, this game will show off the technical attributes of Vita in quite an exciting way. So yeah, being out first is quite important for us, but it has to be commercially relevant to do that.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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