Title: Sega’s Derby Owners Club, World Edition
Publisher: Sega Amusements USA
Release Dates: 2002 (World), 1999 (Japan)
Derby Owners Club, World Edition is an eight player role-playing game, placing players in the roles of breeder, trainer, jockey, and owner of a thoroughbred racehorse. Statistics are kept on a magnetic-strip card, which can be re-used as often as a person would like, creating instant portability between machines. A thriving and steady market has shown up on eBay for ‘trained horses’. According to Sega, there are anywhere from 75 – 300 horses available to bid on at eBay at any time.
With its close affiliation to horse racing, Derby Owners Club, World Edition came under fire in Minnesota, where it was considered a form of gambling by state authorities. Sega waged an intense legal battle in response, and earlier this year the Minnesota Gaming Act was modified to state that “a video game that simulates horse racing and does not involve a prize payout is not an illegal video game of chance.” This permitted Derby Owners Club, World Edition to be legally operated throughout the state, an obvious big win for Sega.
Currently found in sports bars, arcades, and other amusement areas, Derby Owners Club Online is listed as “in development” for the PC but with no current release date. Selling points to arcades include the friendly pace of play, the ability for everyone to have fame, the fairness of play, and the portability offered by memory cards. While US venues include adult-friendly hotspots such as Jillian’s and Dave & Busters, Japan’s arcade business thrives in large all-ages ‘game centers’.