Sega Got Back Into The Hardware Game… In Public Toilets?!?
Genesis. Saturn. Dreamcast. These are hardware names that will live on in the memories of dedicated gamers old enough to tell you what windows 95 was like without having to consult wikipedia. Alas, Dreamcast failed and took Sega’s hardware operation down with it, reducing them to a pale, second-party-developer shadow of their former selves. It was a sad outcome, true, but you might want to
sit down remain standing, because it appears Sega has quietly been making a comeback. In public restrooms.
See, though it’s been a thing since late 2010, news has now trickled out that the developer is working to relieve the pressure caused by the end of their hardware business with a new revenue stream that ought to prompt a fountain of interest no matter what mood you’re in. The project: a public urinal-based interactive device called – and I promise we are not just pissing in the wind here – Toylet. Toylet combines a series of sensors with a digital (and waterproof) display installed on a public urinal at, ahem, eye level, that turns the boring old experience of utilizing the bathroom at your local bar into a video game.
Sega Spokesman Hiroyuki Tanaka offered this justification: “This gives bar customers more things to talk about when they return from bathrooms to their tables.” It also gives them advertisements to watch after they’re finished, um, playing, a major incentive for bars. That it encourages customers to stand closer to the urinal is an added bonus. “We have had good feedback from our customers that toilet cleanliness has improved,” Tanaka said.
So far, Toylet has 5 games available that allow players to compete against previous, ahem, ‘users’, in contests of volume, accuracy and power. But Sega isn’t releasing this new IP freely. Each unit costs $1900 (approximately). However, because of the advertisements and the possibility of increased toilet cleanliness, bars apparently see it as a good investment – 130 Toylets have been installed in bars across Japan netting Sega a
cool warm $247,000 (approximately), making quite a splash for a developer once regarded as a number one hardware manufacturer, but now known more for disappointing Sonic the Hedgehog games.
The only downside to all of this is that the there’s no equivalent for the ladies. Alas, being a guy I have a bit of difficulty imagining how that would work, so I want to encourage any of our female readers to chime in with your suggestions for a XX equivalent in comments. In the meantime, here’s a video from last summer detailing this thing.
Via Raw Story.