Sega intros kids’ line

Sega of Canada, which continues to pressure Nintendo for leadership in the video game category, is launching a line of children's software for its Genesis hardware system.The Sega Club line will feature games of mystery, adventure and action targetting children age...

Sega of Canada, which continues to pressure Nintendo for leadership in the video game category, is launching a line of children’s software for its Genesis hardware system.

The Sega Club line will feature games of mystery, adventure and action targetting children age three to 10, says Sega product manager Kristine Fisher.

To date, only six Sega Club software titles have been announced, including Crystal’s Pony Tale, a game in which a wicked witch casts a spell on Crystal the pony’s friends, and Berenstain Bears Camping Adventure, which involves hiking adventures in haunted and magical forests.

Fisher says the company plans to introduce a broad range of Sega Club games, offering varying degrees of difficulty and appealing equally to males and females.

Fisher, who reveals advertising for Sega Club will begin in the ‘October and November time-frame,’ says the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based company’s goal is to gain a foothold among younger children so it will be easier to gain their allegiance when they become teens.

Fisher says Sega Club games will tend to be ‘comical and cartoony,’ adding Sega’s goal is to provide games for youngsters to play on their teenage brothers’ game hardware.

In the teen bracket, age 12-17, an estimated 85% of video game enthusiasts are male.

Fisher says a secondary goal of the program is to promote increased video game playing among teenage girls.

Sega hopes to do this by demonstrating that pre-teen females will play video games if the software is designed with their interests in mind.

Fisher says that while male teens seek out games that offer aggressive action and sports, female teens are ‘looking for mystery, adventure and discovery, with some puzzle-solving.’

Fisher says software designers have traditionally ignored the female market because of a kind of ‘chicken and egg’ process.

She says software designers concluded females were not interested in video games because they did not buy them, while female teens stayed away from the market because they found the software unappealing.

Fisher says Sega has no way of predicting how successful its effort to crack open the female teen market will be.

‘It’s an area that we are just beginning to attack right now,’ she says.

Sega Club is being launched simultaneously in Canada and the u.s.

Fisher says print ads supporting the program will begin appearing in u.s. video game enthusiast magazines in October, adding the magazines are also distributed in Canada.

Sega of Canada will not back Sega Club with brand advertising in 1994, but it will supply retailers with co-op ad funds.

Fisher says packaging for the new brand will be essentially the same as the core Sega brand, the primary difference being Sega Club products will display a ‘special logo.’

She says Sega’s 1995 marketing plans for Sega Club will include media advertising and, perhaps, a specialized merchandising display.

For its part, Vancouver-based Nintendo is not planning to develop a branded line extension for youngsters, says Kirsty Henderson, marketing manager for Nintendo.

‘It’s not something we’re considering,’ Henderson says.

She says Nintendo’s strategy has always been to position the Nintendo brand name as something that appeals to the entire family.

She says Nintendo’s games stable includes games for both sexes and all ages.