Why SEGA refusing to localize Phantasy Star Online 2 is a bad sign

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Given that we know the news that SEGA doesn’t have plans on publishing Phantasy Star Online 2 outside of Japan, at least for the Playstation 4 (though the PC and Vita versions have been out for over 3 years, so I assume those aren’t coming either). I stated in my original article that I thought it was a really bad decision and got many people upset while they tried  to debate me on the topic even though I never really stated why I felt it was a bad decision. So, here it is, my article talking about why SEGA West not bringing Phantasy Star Online 2 is just another stupid decision by the company that has had a long history of bad decisions.

I decided that it was time I did a write up about why SEGA West not bringing Phantasy Star Online 2 outside of Japan is bad,  not only for their in-house IP but also for their overall brand.

Swingin’ Report Show #80: Interview with Aaron Webber, Sonic the Hedgehog PR & Social Media Manager

He’s back! After leaving SEGA of America in 2014, Aaron Webber has returned as the PR & Social Media Manager for the Sonic the Hedgehog brand. Since returning, Aaron has been making waves on the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, catching both fan and media attention with his sly wit and deep knowledge of the franchise.

Aaron was kind enough to sit down with us for an hour in his first interview since returning to SEGA to talk about his new role, SEGA’s move to LA, his approach to interacting with fans, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, his favorite Sonic games, and answers to some burning canon questions!

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Swingin’ Report Show #78: Interview with Sam Mullen, Localization Producer, SEGA of America

On this episode of the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show, we’re joined by SEGA of America Localization Producer Sam Mullen! In his role at SEGA, Sam has managed the localization process of several Japanese titles including Binary Domain, Rise of Nightmares, and the Hatsune Miku titles. Currently he is working on SEGA’s line of 3D Classics titles which include arcade and SEGA Genesis favorites as well as Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX for the Nintendo 3DS.

Learn about what the process of localization entails as well as what to expect from SEGA’s upcoming 3DS titles in this week’s show! Oh, and see a surprise cameo from former Brand Manager Aaron Webber who happened to be at SEGA of America HQ while we were recording this episode.

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Get your facts straight: SEGA not having a booth at E3 2015 and what it really means

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SEGA finally confirmed the other day that they will not have an exhibition booth at this year’s E3. Following the news, it came as no surprise that much of the internet have been commenting on news stories being posted by ‘gaming journalism’ websites, spitting false claims that make me wonder if anyone even read the statement SEGA gave Game Informer. So without further ado, we will be looking at the most frequently made statements by internet users and whether these statements are true or false. I hope you guys enjoy.

Former SEGA of America CEO Tom Kalinske has harsh words for the company

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Tom Kalinske oversaw SEGA of America in the early 90s during the Genesis era, arguably the company’s most successful time in the console space. Despite their incredible Western success under his leadership, his relations with SEGA of Japan were sometimes strained, most notably with regard to the launch of the Saturn. He departed the company in 1996.

Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz at the DICE Summit, shortly after the recently-announced downsizing and relocating of SEGA’s American headquarters, he does not mince words when discussing his former company.

“[Their departure from hardware] was not inevitable,” Kalinske said. “It could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago. But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years.”

SEGA of America going through another huge restructure, main office is relocating

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Here we go again.

First it was Europe, now SEGA of America is getting hit with some major restructuring. In a statement released earlier today, SegaSammy Holdings announced an “Implementation of structure reform” for SEGA of America. Included in this are some potential layoffs in the forms of “voluntary Retirement” and the San Francisco office moving to a new location in Southern California. Also, there will be a more narrow focus on the “amusement business” division.

However, it’s not all bad news. There will be a reinforcement in the “Sonic and merchandising businesses” and the PC and Mobile divisions will be getting a stronger push possibly due to strong current sales in those markets. The full statement can be found here.

I hope that not too many people are affected by the downsizing and those that do find themselves out of a job, that they find a new one quickly. I guess we shall see how this goes for SEGA.

SEGA says Gearbox just as involved with marketing Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Seems that the drama never stops for SEGA of America and Gearbox Software, continuing with details on a new court filing by SEGA on September 2nd. According to SEGA’s attorney that despite what Gearbox said about them not being responsible with marketing. SEGA disagreed and stated that they had equal part and would sometimes overstepped their boundaries. SEGA went as far to say that they were kept in the dark about certain promotional decisions.

One of these claims is that Gearbox co-founder Randy Pitchford wold go to events and state to the press that the demos where “actual gameplay” which of course is false.

SEGA has already admitted to wrong doing and will pay $1.25 million dollars, Gearbox was allowed to join in with SEGA if they would agree to pay a additional $750,000 in the settlement, but it seems they will continue to fight on. According to Gearbox they operated as a contractor and that SEGA had final word on the game and marketing.

Watch the full ‘Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation’ San Diego Comic Con panel


 
This past weekend, SEGAbits writers Ben, Shigs, and Nuckles hit San Diego Comic Con and SEGA’s game preview event located at the nearby Nerd HQ. While Comic Con isn’t as game centric as E3, there was quite a bit of SEGA goodness to be found. We were able to check out the latest preview builds of Alien: Isolation and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, as well as interview Archie Comics on the upcoming Sonic Boom comic book series. But the main event had to have been Sunday’s Console Wars panel. The panel, which centered around the SEGA and Nintendo rivalry of the 90’s, featured special guests Tom Kalinske (Sega of America), Al Nilsen (Sega of America), Bill White (Nintendo of America), and Perrin Kaplan (Nintendo of America), as well as Console Wars author Blake J. Harris and Julian Rosenberg, producer of the upcoming Console Wars documentary.

Thanks to Blake, Nuckles and Shigs were given the VIP treatment and secured some awesome seats – allowing us to film the panel and Q&A session and meet the SEGA and Nintendo legends! Check out the full panel above, and make sure to pick up your copy of Console Wars if you haven’t already!

Want more Console Wars discussion? Check out our three part interview series with Tom Kalinske, Al Nilsen, and Blake J. Harris.

Simon Jeffery, former SEGA of America CEO (2004-2009), moves to Myo Armband creator Thalmic Labs

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Many of you may be familiar with Simon Jeffery. For those unaware, Simon Jeffery was the CEO of SEGA of America from 2004 to 2009, who would be followed by Mike Hayes. Jeffery also worked at LucasArts prior to his arrival at SEGA and and more recently he worked at mobile game publisher ngmoco within the past couple of years. As far as SEGA is concerned, he is perhaps well-known for his public statement confirming SEGA not moving forward with a re-entry to the console market at E3 2008, alongside his philosophy on SEGA of America as an autonomous arm and with regards to the company’s direction during his tenure (which can be seen at this Gamasutra interview.)

MarketWatch is reporting that Canadian company Thalmic Labs has hired Simon Jeffery as its chief “gaming evangelist,” where his primary responsibilities will be to forge relationships with game developers, a sort of outreach work that should be familiar to him considering his career. Thalmic Labs is the producer of the Myo armband, a piece of hardware that allows for digital interaction through motion-sensing technology. It can be used for video games, computers, entertainment devices and probably as a means of interaction with smart home systems. Wearable tech is a market that consumers and tech companies alike will be watching closely, from smartwatches and Google Glass to the buzzed-about Oculus Rift. It will be interesting to see what sort of work Simon Jeffery does for Thalmic Labs

Charles Bellfield, former SEGA VP of strategic planning and corporate affairs, has passed away

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Sad news this morning as we have learned that Charles Bellfield, SEGA of America’s former VP of strategic planning and corporate affairs from 1998 to 2003, has passed away. Bellfield was best known as the spokesman for Sega of America during the launch of the Dreamcast. The news of his passing came from his brother Edward through Facebook, saying that Bellfield had passed away in San Francisco on Friday night. Bellfield held other positions in the gaming industry including executive roles at Edelman, Capcom, Codemasters, 3DV Systems, EmotionPlay, and Imagination Technologies’ Pure North America division.

Peter Moore, Bellfield’s SEGA boss during the Dreamcast era, described him as “good time Charlie. The life of every party, a true bon vivant. The quintessential Englishman abroad. You’ve left us way too soon Charlie, but you’ve also left us with a hundred stories to tell and a thousand smiles on all of our faces. The room was a better, more fun-filled place when you were in it.”

We here at SEGAbits send our condolences to Bellfield’s family and friends. He will be missed.

SEGAbits Visits SEGA of America, Inc. in Sunny San Francisco – Part 3

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Welcome to the third and final part of our visit to SEGA of America! Check out the first part here and the second part here. In part three, we’re going to take a look at several rare, cool, and sometimes strange pieces of SEGA history pulled from SEGA’s archives from SEGA community managers Kellie Parker and Julian Mehlfeld. Consoles in their original boxes, cool accessories, rare statues, and a few items from the Kellie Parker Collection™ can all be seen after the break!

SEGAbits Visits SEGA of America, Inc. in Sunny San Francisco – Part 2

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Quick recap: a few weeks back I paid a visit to SEGA of America’s headquarters. In part 1, we explored the area where the offices are located, entered the office building lobby, got on an elevator, and entered SEGA’s lobby. In part 2, we’re going to explore the SEGA office lobby, taking a look at all the cool bits of SEGA history on display! Join me, as I venture inside SEGA of America.

SEGAbits Visits SEGA of America, Inc. in Sunny San Francisco – Part 1

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On the list of awesome opportunities that have presented themselves as a result of me becoming a SEGA fan site writer, a visit to SEGA’s San Francisco offices has taken a firm hold of the number one slot. I had already planned to take a trip to California starting in Los Angeles, heading northward via the coastal highway, and ending the San Francisco. When it came to San Fran, SEGA’s offices were at the top of the list of places to check out. At most, I figured I’d pose in front of the building, but given our connections with the SEGA community managers I went out on a limb and reached out. After a short correspondence, a date and time was set and I was in. I was going to visit SEGA’s American HQ! Through the powers of words and photos, come along with me as we step inside SEGA.

Ken Balough spins the signpost, departs SEGA zone

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After five years with the company, SEGA’s Digital Brand Manager Ken Balough is moving on to join the team at Sony Playstation. The announcement was made in a statement at the SEGA forums:

After 5 absolutely amazing years, and a lot of great memories and games, it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing Friday March 22nd will be my final day at SEGA.

I can’t tell you all what an incredible experience this has been. Ever since I was a kid playing the SEGA Master System, I wanted to work at SEGA. I grew up on our games playing Wonder Boy, Sonic, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and so many more. When the chance to work on the Sonic franchise appeared – I never thought twice – it was a dream come true!

I am incredibly proud of how well the Sonic Franchise has grown; and it is poised to continue to grow into some amazing directions.

The Sonic fans are the best I’ve experienced – passionate, intelligent, with an unrivaled love of the franchise. I have been privileged to get to know you, and hear your thoughts, and talk to you personally when given the opportunity. There are so many of you I want to thank. You guys are really one of a kind. Continue to encourage everyone at SEGA to make better games – it’s really fuel for us when we see, or hear you guys excited.

As many of you know, I am very passionate about the Latin America side business, and I have been given a phenomenal opportunity to join the team at Sony PlayStation and do just that. I am very excited, and while I am VERY sad to be leaving my dear friends at SEGA, am looking forward to be working with a 1st party in an emerging market.

Thank you all again for… well…. Everything! And maybe I’ll stop by and make a visit in a future Sonic event

Your ever-grateful Sonic 4 Brand Manager
Ken Balough

We wish Ken all the best in his new venture, and hope that his time with SEGA was as he truly imagined it. Okay, kidding aside, we here at SEGAbits want to thank Ken for his service to SEGA and for all the good times. From joining us for a Sonic 4 Episode 2 after party, to helping us with all things Sonic 4 and more. Ken, this one is for you.

Editorial: Gaming sites who failed at reporting last Friday’s news.

Last Friday we learned the sad news that SEGA West was restructuring, downsizing and canceling certain games. I think we’ve all discussed the news enough, what I wanted to focus on in this editorial are the gaming sites who did an awful job of reporting the news. For whatever reason, unpaid fans who write for blogs do a better job reading press releases and reporting on them than big name sites like Kotaku. I also wanted to draw attention to a general gaming blog, toplessrobot.com, who did an equally awful job in reporting on the news.