From the article: Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series has great potential, said Arvind Bhatia, a Southwest Securities analyst who follows the video-game industry. Microsoft might want to offer Sonic games and other titles as Xbox exclusives, he said. The Mario franchise, for example, has been a bedrock for Nintendo.
"What Microsoft really needs right now is what we call a 'killer app'-type title," Bhatia said. "The only one they've been able to come out with is 'Halo.' "
My memory might be a bit fuzzy, but does Sega really have any 'killer apps' outside of Sonic? And I don't think that Sonic is going to move many systems. I mean, it's fun and all, but it's never been as deep as Mario. And Phantasy Star Online, while helping to fix the lack of RPG's for the 'box, ain't exactly a system-seller either.
The only other upside to this would be MS picking up the Sega Sports titles outright and getting rid of the crap sports titles they've been putting out. But Sega Sports has been having trouble, seeing as it's getting it's ass handed to it by EA. Who, it should be noted, is also trying to buy a stake in Sega.
(On a side note, how much would a Madden/NFL 2k merger rule? NFL2K's graphics and presentation combined with the tight gameplay and deep franchise mode of the Madden series...I'd never leave the house.)
Sega's lack of a "killer app" is part of the problem, no doubt... but there're other factors, too. I mean, Sony's never had a Mario-style dynasty unless you count the FF games. Crash Bandicoot, Gex, and all the rest of the Sony platformer games never came anywhere close to getting the same level of recognition and brand association as Sonic and Mario did.
However, this would still be a great move for Microsoft, as much as I'd hate to see it happen. Sega knows how to make great games, and having them exclusively might help the Xbox get that crucial leg up...
Kansas-born and deeply ashamed The last living La Parka Marka
"They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
Grand Theft Auto may not be a Mario-style dynasty, but since Vice City has been PS2 exclusive, except for the PC version just coming out now, it might as well have been.
If Sega had a Mario-style dynasty they might still be producing it for the Dreamcast...
I have to wonder if one or two games can tempt people who haven't already got an X-Box to get one. I'm tending towards being anti-microsoft of late, and I can't see any game being on the X-Box that would make me want it, but I know that's not the typical viewpoint. Although I think the magic number for me realizing I should get a PS2 or Gamecube was five games that made me drool just thinking about them. I suppose acquiring Sega would provide two of those games, but that by itself wouldn't be enough.
I don't think MS will be acquiring Sega. Sega looks more interested in merging with either Namco or Sammy. Those are the two companies that Sega has said it is officially considering. Once it reviews the assets of both companies, Sega will make their decision in a couple of weeks.
Microsoft's problem, it seems is that they're operating from a position of weakness. They desperately need a knockout, system-selling game, but with lousy first party development, it's not going to happen. And the third party developers, while they may rave about how easy it is to develop for the XBox as compared to the PS2, will never pull the trigger on an XBox exclusive game. Because, you know, they want to actually make money.
I think the MS acquiring Sega would be in the best interests of both parties. With the financial backing of MS, I can see Sega very easily developing a Grand Theft Auto-type game that could sell systems like gangbusters. And having Sega as a first-party developer gives MS a lot of credibility that they didn't have before, particularly in the Japanese market.
(Please note: When I say GTA-type game, I don't mean GTA-knockoff. I think that GTA, when pared down to its core, probably could have been a game you would have seen out of Sega in its heyday. Open ended gameplay, tons of stuff to do, seemingly endless replay value...I think Sega could pull that off very well.)