Sega to Become Software-Only?

The Internet fires up with comments, rumors, and misinformation regarding Isao Okawa's admission of a console-free Sega.

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"In the future there is the possibility of Sega becoming a software-only company," stated Isao Okawa, chairman of Sega Enterprises. "Even if Dreamcast does sell, we will make that shift."

Perhaps one of the most monumental admissions ever from Sega, this statement has caused a rash of rumor and misinformation around the Internet. Sega of America's official line cites a mistranslation: Okawa was merely stressing the focus of the Internet for Sega. No explanation was given as to how his words could have been incorrectly translated to the extent of him admitting to a software-only future though. Especially when Sega had specifically asked for a certain translator over another, as he could better voice Okawa's meanings to the press.

GameSpot News spoke with Sega of America late on Thursday to further discuss the issue. According to a company spokesperson, Mr. Okawa often expresses his visions and ideas at the time, and these ideas may not represent the entire picture. The spokesperson continued stating that Mr. Okawa may very well envision a future in Internet and software, but we should not rule out more hardware. Another Sega of America spokesperson stated that Mr. Okawa often speaks and acts on his current interest, stating that he once flew to visit Amazon.com as soon as he heard of the Internet retailer's popularity in the US.

"I'll tell you this - we definitely do have another hardware coming," a Sega of America official told GameSpot News late Thursday. Whether he was referring to a Dreamcast unit with a DVD drive inside or some non-Dreamcast hardware is unknown. It should also be mentioned that hardware companies most always have future products in the works, despite a majority of them never coming to fruition.

The future software-only Sega that Isao Okawa hinted at (or not, depending on whether his words were truly mistranslated) doesn't come as a surprise to many in Japan though. One of GameSpot's Japanese reporters claims that gamers already see Sega moving in the software-only direction. In Japan, it seems as though the company has already begun testing the water. Currently, Sega is allowing for ports of its popular titles for other hardware consoles. Games like Columns are now appearing for the Nintendo-owned Game Boy Color and Super Famicom (the Japanese equivalent of the Super Nintendo), and Sega's mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, will soon be starring in a game for SNK's NeoGeo Pocket Color.

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