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Friday, May 14, 1999

E3: Sega Buys Visual Concepts

Contributed By: Fernando Mosquera

News Release

LOS ANGELES--May 12, 1999--Sega(R) Enterprises, Ltd. today announced it is accelerating its purchase of San Rafael, California video game developer Visual Concepts Entertainment, Inc.

The deal to acquire Visual Concepts, which was initially announced in September 1997, will take effect immediately and will give Sega full control of the prolific software company. In conjunction with the acquisition, president of Visual Concepts, Gregory A. Thomas, will be appointed vice president of product development for Sega of America. Financial details surrounding the deal were not disclosed.

Visual Concepts is currently developing several titles for Sega's new video game machine, Sega Dreamcast(TM), including football, basketball and a character-based adventure game. Prior to the acquisition, Sega owned a minority share in the company, giving it exclusive rights to games created for any Sega video game consoles. Visual Concepts is best known for creating the top-selling hockey game of 1997, "NHL Hockey '97(TM)," which was published by Electronic Arts. The company's track record of hit titles also includes "Madden NFL '94(TM)," "Madden '95(TM)," "Clay Fighter(TM)," "Taz-Mania(TM)," and "EA Sports Presents MLBPA Baseball(TM) and "NBA Action `98(TM)."

"This is a significant acquisition for Sega," said Bernard Stolar, president and COO of Sega of America. "We are looking to further expand development for Sega Dreamcast titles here in the United States. The Visual Concepts deal gives us instant access to an incredible pool of game development talent that has a proven track record for creating winners."

Sega also announced this morning that it would be looking to expand the game development operation at Visual Concepts, including hiring new employees to meet the anticipated demand for Sega Dreamcast games. The company's Sega Dreamcast football and basketball titles will be available at the launch of the video game system in the US on September 9, 1999.

"We really believe in Sega and the Sega Dreamcast platform," said Gregory A. Thomas, president of Visual Concepts Entertainment, Inc. "We look forward to working with Bernie Stolar and the great teams here in the US, Japan and Europe. Sega is on track to return as a dominant player in the video game industry, and we are excited to be a significant part of that."

As vice president of product development, Thomas will oversee all Sega of America internally developed (first-party) game titles created for Sega Dreamcast and manage acquisitions, working closely with both of Sega of Japan and Sega of America.

Visual Concepts is a privately held software development firm based in San Rafael, Calif. The company was founded in 1988 and has developed games for the leading video game publishers in the business, including Sega, Electronic Arts, Konami, Interplay, Namco and Sunsoft, for all major 16- and 32-bit video game consoles.

 

 

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