Sega has a tricky job of appealing to new gamers while still connecting to their old school fan base. Whether they struck that balance in 2004 is really up for debate, but Sega did manage to release a "new" Sonic collection, embrace Nintendo's newest portable, and license the Matrix Online. But that doesn't mean they were exactly a huge player this year, their big E3 surprise ended up to be a dud and their upcoming titles lack the familiar faces and old school remakes. But 2005 is only a week away and Sega will get another chance to show us what they're made of. In the mean time we can look at their website and see just where they went wrong.
Look and Design:
There is nothing wrong with Sega's layout, it looks good and gets the job done, but somebody forgot to add some style. Sega's website looks very mechanic, I almost feel bad for its blandness. The HUGE rotating banner feature not one single good looking picture, and really takes up way too much room. Listen folks, I won't lie to you, this is one boring site and it's not what you want when you think of Sega. I don't know about you, but I still have fond memories of Sega's past art design, and it just feels like it's thrown to the way side to make one of the least appealing sites we've looked at.
With enthusiastic characters like this, how can you not want to play the Midnight Club series??
Searching for a game is generally a breeze thanks to some specific search features, such as system, title, and rating. But it's more of what Sega's website doesn't have that is the problem. Through 29 days of websites I have complained about companies neglecting their past, but I didn't expect the same thing from Sega. After all, this is the same Sega that brought us a sequel to both Panzer Dragoon and ToeJam & Earl. This is a company who gives us sets of their popular franchises and goes out of their way to respect their long-time fans. So the fact that you can't search for games released on the Master System, Genesis, Sega CD, Game Gear, Saturn, or even the Dreamcast seems like blaspheme. Not listing Dreamcast games almost seems like more of a defeat than actually pulling out of the console industry . this is their site, they can do with it what they want, and respecting these old (and not so old) games seems like the right thing to do. Shame on you Sega, shame on you!
Sega doesn't actually have a news section, but they do offer the top four most recent news items, which should take you all of about five minutes to read. Believe it or not, Sega's news is so short it might as well not exist at all. Unfortunately this doesn't leave me with much to actually talk about. You can sign up for the Matrix Online announcements that must be exciting because they are called "NEWSBLASTS". Oh god, I can't keep this up, there's no point to talking about a section that they obviously don't pay attention to. Maybe it's time to just move on. There's nothing more to see here.
The critics can charge that we have a bias towards Rockstar Games, Namco, or whoever we compliment this month, but the truth is, there is no company we wanted to score high than Sega of America. It actually gives some of us ulcers to know that we're scoring a beloved company so low, but there's nothing we can do about it, they did it to themselves. We didn't tell them to make a useless site that seems to stick its nose at the loyal fans, the people that have kept Sega afloat . if only barely.
FINAL GRADE: D+
(Important Note: This review was written in 2004. As is the case with websites things tend to change and get moved around. We've decided to cover major companies who should have a presence on the web for many years to come, but the actual reviews of the layout may not be relevant for more than a month to a year. Having said that, we're hoping this article was still interesting, and if not, at least you go this extra little paragraph of explanation that you wouldn't normally get on the other websites.)