UK Charts: Virtua Tennis 4 debuts at #23

Virtua Tennis 4 debuted this week at #23 on the UK charts. The game was only tracked for one day, so it isn’t a bad debut. We will have to see what happens next week. The 23rd spot is the all format charts, so it puts together all releases.

Individual charts they ranked:

  • Xbox 360: #24
  • Playstation 3: #13
  • Nintendo Wii: #27

Is it surprising that Virtua Tennis 4 preformed better on Playstation 3? Not really since it did have extras on that console, I guess PSN being down didn’t effect consumers’ choices too much. At least in the UK.

[Source: Chart-Track]

How PSN Store downtime will affect SEGA

I have seen lots of sites covering this news, even some of them being SEGA related sites like this one. But none of them seem to point out how the PSN store will be affecting SEGA. Lets have a overview please.

SEGA was really pushing Virtua Tennis 4 for the Playstation 3. It was first announced for the console last year and even got some cool exclusive content on disc. So why does PSN store being down effect it? SEGA promised exclusive demos for PSN. The first demo hit the PSN store on April 19th, given that it is a few days from when PSN went down, I doubt many people got a chance to try it.

SEGA was set to release their PSN version of Streets of Rage 2 port on May 3rd (tomorrow) to PSN plus users and a week later for all users. Issue is that PSN Store is down. Also set to make its debut was the SEGA Genesis dynamic theme (to America, already out in Europe).

Sony held a conference on Sunday saying that online play, Playstation Home, Trophy synching, and other related abilities will be restored during the week. As for the Playstation Store, it should be up “within the month”.

The Weekly Five: Why We’re Partying Like It’s 2001!

2001 was a great year for SEGA games, but a bad year for SEGA. While a number of amazing titles released, we played them with the knowledge that the Dreamcast was to be discontinued by March. To create a sad analogy, it was like going to Disneyland knowing you had three months left to live. Jump ahead ten years to 2011. All signs point to a great year for SEGA games AND a great year for SEGA. The comparison between 2001 and 2011 doesn’t end there, as you’ll soon learn in this week’s “Weekly Five”. Just why are we partying like it’s 2001? Read on to find out!

Toys”R”Us has Virtua Tennis 4 for $32.49

So money is tight, SEGA knows and has priced the HD console versions of Virtua Tennis 4 down to $50 dollars on launch. Not enough for you? You can get them at Toys”R”Us for $32.99! What about the Wii? A sexy $25.99. Nice!

Click here to see prices

The game is getting pretty good scores in Europe and there is a playable demo on PSN… well, you could have played it if PSN was up!

Virtua Tennis 4 getting £1m ad campaign

SEGA Europe continues to drop big cash on marketing their titles, this time it’s Virtua Tennis 4. The series will get online, print and TV ads during its European release April 29th. It will also be sponsored during Wimbledon. Those TV ads will start playing on April 25th on Channel 4, E4, Sky Sports, Sky, ITV2, and ITV4.

“With over a million pounds invested in marketing, this is our biggest spend on a Virtua Tennis title to date. Activity will create awareness at release, with a second execution to capitalize on grand slam fever during Wimbledon. The No.1 tennis series is releasing on what is a pretty significant date. For many, that will be the Royal Wedding, but for gamers it signifies the start of the gaming tennis season, and with the bank holiday a few extra hours of play. Virtua Tennis 4 is the only tennis game to include motion control functionality across all platforms.” –  Anna Downing (SEGA’s senior product manager)

The article keeps on saying it’s the series’ 10th anniversary, but that is incorrect since the original was released on arcades in 1999 and the Dreamcast port came in 2000. Unless I’m missing something? So now that SEGA Europe stepped up, what will SEGA America do?

[Source: MCVUK]

Mie Kumagai discusses VT4

Australian Gamer recently sat down with famed SEGA developer Mie Kumagai, the first ever female president of an internal development team (Hitmaker). She has worked on titles in the Virtua Tennis and Virtual On franchises.

In a surprisingly short interview, she discusses a bit about Virtua Tennis 4, and tells us that SEGA is looking to continue Virtual On. Hmm….

Check out the rest below.

[Source: Australian Gamer]

SEGA using open source 3D for VT4

Apparently SEGA is using a free to download 3D program to aid in the development of Virtua Tennis 4 in Japan. SEGA Of Japan technical artist Katsuhiko Omori said this in an email to the creators of Blender:


My name is Katsuhiko Omori and I work as technical artist at SEGA Japan.
One of my main responsibilities is to research new technology and evaluating them for a possible application for SEGA’s game titles.

In 2010, I designed a shader rendering pipeline for Virtua Tennis 4 (SEGA) with the help of Blender 2.4. I utilized the material node-editor to generate and compose different surface materials and fine tune the finale results. In this aspect, the node-system was an extremely helpful tool in exploring the possibilities of this artist oriented experiment.

VT4 adopted the ueber shader and thus was it possible to re-implement my designed materials and user parameters on the game console. The attached image illustrates the face-skin material – the most complicated shader. As you can see it is a rather complex combination.

It’s all Greek to me, but maybe some of our more computer inclined readers can make sense of it.

In other news, the World Tour Virtua Tennis 4 demo is now live on PSN. Go check it out now if you are a PSN+ member. If you aren’t you can check it out this time next week.

[Source: SEGA]

Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour Trailer

Direct from SEGA comes the latest trailer for the awesome Virtua Tennis 4. This has got to be my favorite trailer, as it shows off my favorite mode: world tour. It looks like the game will follow a board game sort of layout, where you are given a certain number of spaces to move. Some spaces feature autograph signings, while others feature tournaments, mini-games and (according to interviews) random muggings!

Also featured is the character creation mode, which looks pretty deep. You can squash, stretch and tweak the player’s face to resemble your own. I just know I’m going to spend a good hour making the perfect doppelganger. Then I’ll stick myself in tie dyed rainbow shorts, and take on the world.

Want to demo the game before release? PS3 owners are in luck! Details after the break.

Virtua Tennis 4 getting two move bundles

The people over at Amazon France have leaked two move bundles before SEGA got a chance to announce it. The first bundle is the Playstation Eye Camera, Virtua Tennis 4, Move Controller and plastic tennis racket for the sweet price of 99.95 euros.

The second bundle is the same, but also has a 320gb Playstation 3 added to the mix. This one is going to cost you 379.95 euros. No idea if any other country is getting a taste of these sweet bundles, I guess the French just love their tennis a bit more than everyone else.

[Source: Playstation Lifestyle]

Virtua Tennis 4 on Playstation 3 gets exclusive content

SEGA has just confirmed that the Playstation 3 version of Virtua Tennis 4 is getting exclusive playable characters. These include Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter. As well as two minigames. The first one is Pin Crusher which is made for regular controllers in mind and the other is Net Blitz which is Move exclusive.

There is also a minigame being made for PlayStation Home Central Plaza that will launch with the start of the French Open. To check out the message SEGA sent out, hit the jump.

Motion Control in Virtua Tennis 4 only for mini-games

Expecting motion controls (Move, Kinect, Wii Motion Plus) for the upcoming Virtua Tennis 4? According to CVG, you’re out of luck. Mini-games and Motion Play modes are said to allow for the motion controls that will be advertised on the game’s box, while the career mode, online play, and tournaments are said to only support standard controller configurations. Weird, right?

Well, that’s not all. Gamers who were planning on picking up the Wii version should take note that this version will not allow for nunchuck or classic controller support, instead, you’ll be forced to hold the remote sideways and use the d-pad. Yes, really.

The game comes out May 10th in North America and May 14th in Europe, though if you only own a Wii, I wouldn’t bother.

[Source: CVG]

Virtua Tennis 4 Announced for PC!

Sega have announced Virtua Tennis 4 will also be available for PC. Virtua Tennis 4 will be available via digital distribution such as Steam across Europe and North America. Both versions of the fast paced arcade and home console tennis smash hit will be available summer 2011.

As with the upcoming console versions, Virtua Tennis 4 for PC contains an enhanced online mode including leader board support and a new social clubhouse where players can invite their friends over for party games and exhibition matches.

Continue reading for the official press release!

Virtua Tennis 4 release date announced for North America! Also, cover art.

UPDATE: Europe can expect the game a week early, with the European release date announced as being April 29th, 2011.

Restring your racquets, Virtua Tennis 4 has a release date! SEGA has announced that Virtua Tennis 4 will be hitting the Wii, PS3 and 360 on May 10, 2011 in North America! Also, SEGA has released the cover art. Want to see the PS3 and Wii cover, as well as a press release?

SEGA Press Event Happening in a Few Weeks

From GoNintendo comes a bit of news regarding an upcoming SEGA press event. Little is said of the event, except that it will happen in a few weeks time and that reps from High Voltage and Creative Assembly will be in attendance. I assume it’ll be at SEGA’s offices in California, though I never should assume as it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me” (joke).

Should be exciting to hear more of Virtua Tennis 4, as well as the others, however what I’m really hoping for are some reveals. Sonic Anniversary, Sonic 4 Episode 2 or Phaantasy Star Online 2 would all be great. Alan Pritchard did say to expect two Sonic game announcements in the early part of this year. More details to come, obviously.

[Source: GoNintendo and The Sonic Stadium]

Virtua Tennis 4 being developed by orginal team due to fan feedback

The guys over at Eurogamer have grabbed a pretty good interview with Mie Kumagai, producer for Virtua Tennis 4. One of the important questions asked was why AM3 took the franchise back to Japan, when Virtua Tennis 2009 was done by Sumo Digital.

“The reason why it was taken back to Japan with the original studio was looking at Virtua Tennis 3 and 2009 and listening to fan reaction and user feedback, we felt for 4 there needed to be a lot of major changes in the game.

With that in mind, if you’re going to add a lot of new elements, if you’re going to change something quite a lot, to some respect you have to scrap what’s already there. We felt it was a task best done by the original team who understood the game the most, who understood the main concepts and goals of the game the most, and had the most experience. We could constructively scrap parts where we would need to update and think about what could be changed, what could be updated.

At the end of 2009, we felt almost every element in the game was exhausted. So we needed to bring a lot of new things on board. That’s why it was taken back to the original team in Japan.”– Mie Kumagai, Virtua Tennis 4 producer

I love Sumo Digital, but I’m very excited that the original team is back and trying to deliver a fresh game in the series. There is just so much you can do with tennis, I guess we will see the changes when the game launches in the spring.