SEGA was a household name in the late 80s and 90s. The Mega Drive or Genesis was groundbreaking in so many ways. It was modern and fun. More refreshing than the NES with its graphics, sound, and gameplay. But for the last few years, other than arcade development, SEGA has been relatively quiet. Console development stopped in 2001 but SEGA was thriving as a third-third party game developer, putting out tons of titles through the 2000s. But the prolificity tapered off in the 2010s, with the company only averaging five to six titles playable on consoles per year.
SEGA is resurgent in 2018. They have released a fistful of titles and are targeting eSports with their latest installment of Puyo Puyo, entitled, Puyo Puyo eSports (now available on Nintendo Switch and PS4). It’s no wonder that SEGA would target eSports as an avenue back into the limelight. ESports are taking the world by storm. Top online sportsbooks like Bovada have odds on major eSports tournaments and matchplay between top teams.
Puyo Puyo or Puyo Pop as it was released in North America has been around since 1991 and has had many iterations over the years. Many consider Puyo Puyo a failed attempt to take over Tetris, which was an impossible endeavor because Tetris had already taken over the globe.
That said, it is definitely the best contribution that SEGA has ever made to the puzzle gaming market and over its nearly 30 years in existence, the Puyo Puyo franchise has a huge and loyal following. Who knows how the video game world would have been shaped if Puyo Puyo had been released first?
Puyo Puyo eSports will be playable under the Puyo Puyo 2 and Puyo Puyo Fever rules with 24 usable characters. Puyo Puyo 2 was unique because it introduced the ability to counter chains in head-to-head mode and it changed the standard linear single-player mode a wheel-type gauntlet based on achieving a certain score to move on. Although it was orginally released in 1994, those who had the SEGA Ages 2500 or PS2 back in 2004 may remember its rerelease and inclusion on those platforms. Puyo Puyo Fever introduced a whole new character set and Fever Mode along with a few other shifts to the mechanics of the game.
Puyo Puyo eSports is obviously geared towards eSports, which means competitive play and tournaments. The price point is just 1999 Yen or just a hair under $18 US. The idea behind the lower price is to make it widely accessible to everyone so that the competitive culture of the game grows rapidly. Since its Japanese release just a few short days ago, the action has been hot.
There is also talk of a North American release as well, though no date has been set. Supposedly they are not putting any restrictions on the global release when it comes around so it should be available across each state and province of the United States and Canada. In the current Japanese release, you can choose your region which includes the USA and get even more specific by choosing which state you are in. This is a great indicator that a North American release is on the horizon and you can bet that the second that it does, there will be tournaments popping up like wildfire.