Sega System Suffers Early Glitches




SAN JOSE, California -- Sega Enterprises Ltd. has acknowledged that some of the software for its new Dreamcast video-game system doesn't work, only a day after the much-hyped system hit store shelves.


Sega spokeswoman Jennifer Walker said last week that only a small quantity of some of the new Dreamcast games were affected, blaming it on a manufacturing problem.


The games affected were Blue Stinger, Sonic the Hedgehog, Hydro Thunder and Ready to Rumble. The company emphasized the problems were not related to the Dreamcast console.


Struggling Sega has been counting on Dreamcast to vault it back to the top of the U.S. video-game market, and analysts had warned that any problems could be devastating to the company.


Retailers said, however, that glitches weren't immediately having a major impact on sales, which were going quite well. Toys "R" Us said that all of its 705 stores nationwide sold out of the Dreamcast console last Thursday.


Sega said late Friday that it had recorded $97 million in initial sales of equipment and games Thursday, easily surpassing the company's expectations.


Customers quickly noticed that some of their games weren't working, retailers said.


"We started hearing stuff from some of the consumers who had come in at midnight. Their games weren't loading properly. We started making Sega aware of what we were hearing,'' said Peter Roithmayr, vice president of merchandising of video games at the Electronics Boutique chain, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania.