SEGA reports video game division doing well, everything else not so much

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It seems that SEGA is really working hard to turn their console publishing arm around, with recent changes on how they localize games which included announcing three Yakuza games coming to the West. This of course has fans like me very excited and yesterday SEGA-Sammy posted their financial report that ended on December 31st, 2017. It was filled with good and bad news.

Let’s take a look at what SEGA-Sammy had to say about their performance in the last nine months.

Sammy teases upcoming Valkyria Chronicles pachislot machine

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Sammy, the division within SEGA-Sammy that does pachinko and pachislot machines, which is why no one is really surprised that they announced a Valkyria Chronicles pachinko machine. SEGA’s console division is reviving the Valkyria Chronicles brand with Valkyria Chronicles 4 in 2018, seems that Sammy finds the IP enticing enough for a pachislot machine. Sammy previously did a Bayonetta pachislot machine in 2015.

As far as when its coming, we don’t know anything outside of ‘coming soon’. I guess no one here will get to or want to play a Valkyria Chronicles pachislot game.  According to this tweet by Sammy, they will have a preview tomorrow.

SEGA SAMMY offices consolidating and relocating in Fall 2018

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According to a recent press release, big changes are coming to SEGA in Japan. In the fall of 2018, SEGA SAMMY and its group companies located in the Tokyo metropolitan area will be consolidated and relocated to a business building in the “Nishishinagawa 1-chome District Type 1 Urban Redevelopment Project” now being developed in an area south of Osaki Station. Osaki Station being in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. The SEGA SAMMY group companies include SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS INC., Sammy Corporation, SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd., SEGA Games Co., Ltd., ATLUS. CO., LTD., Sammy Networks Co., Ltd., DARTSLIVE Co., Ltd. and others.

The move is said to promote cooperation among the companies, creating synergy and more active interaction of personnel while pursuing efficient group management. To do this, SEGA SAMMY plans to consolidate currently scattered head office functions. The new office space will occupy 8 floors and 43,891 square meters (472,439 square feet).

SEGA posts sales profits despite having fewer sales

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SEGA-Sammy has posted their detailed financial report for the last six months, spanning from April to September 2015. If you guys didn’t know, April 1st is when SEGA’s massive restructure happen and around June is when SEGA of America did their big move. Not only that but the company hasn’t been releasing as much software as they used to, but they still manage to make profit even with a decrease in sales.

SEGA-Sammy reports 1.2 billion in net sales, which happens to be a decrease of 2.5% over the same six month period in 2014, where they reported over 1.3 billion. Yet SEGA-Sammy posted a profit of $7.9 million, compared to losing $23 million in 2014.

SEGA-Sammy said that digital games just happen to be one of the big money makers for the company which happen to them get out of the red. What games did good? Lets look.

SEGA’s Marza studio demos Unreal Engine 4 animations

SEGA-Sammy owned CGI animation studio Marza Animation Planet has been plenty busy since they debuted in early 2006 by doing opening animations on various SEGA games (including Night of the Werehog animated short), working on the CGI movie ‘Space Pirate Captain Harlock‘ and even being confirmed as doing the CGI for Sony Pictures ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ theatrical film. Seems that the company is always looking ahead and are now getting their feet wet by trying animations in Unreal Engine 4, showing off detailed animations running on the primarily used game engine.

These are ‘real-time demos’ shown off to Japanese gaming website 4Gamer. Marza talks about how making animations in a game engine is new to them and how impress they are with what is possible. This could help SEGA’s development team create faster assets and cut development time in games. The demos they showed off included Happy Forest (above), Ultimate Bowl and Kuro 1.2 in-engine effects . To see the other tech demos hit the jump.

Sammy announces Bayonetta themed pachislot machine

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Sammy aka parent company of SEGA, has launched a teaser site for their upcoming gambling pachislot machines based on the ever popular Bayonetta IP. It seems that pachislot machines get a negative reaction but most people don’t understand that most of these products have nothing to do with SEGA Games division. This is nothing new, considering that Sammy has been using SEGA (and other) IPs to sell Pachislots for over a decade. It has been a very profitable business for ‘SEGA-Sammy Holdings‘.

Before everyone complains in the comment section about how “SEGA should have just funded Bayonetta 2 instead of this”, please understand that this is like saying “Sony should fund a new Tomba! video game on Playstation 4 instead of making The Interview”, both projects are competently different and the cost of doing a Bayonetta themed pachislot machine is way lower than creating a HD game from scratch.

I hope this means that SEGA and Sammy both find value in owning the Bayonetta IP and haven’t abandoned it. Would be nice to see SEGA do a extended version of Bayonetta 2 on other platforms outside of the dying Wii U.

Round Table: Our thoughts on SEGA Games’ new CEO Haruki Satomi

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It has been a rough path being a SEGA fan, while I do feel like they have made some great games in the past decade, its easy to see that they have also made their fair share of mistakes. A few weeks ago the newly elected Sega Games Co. CEO and Vice President, Haruki Satomi had a interview with Famitsu where he discussed how he felt some games SEGA released in the last decade abused fan’s trust towards the brand and how they are learning from Atlus in the West.

Of course the internet was an uproar, some even stating that SEGA hasn’t released a good game in a decade. Regardless of how you feel about SEGA, its always good for a company to take feedback and be straight when talking about the company. So this week’s round table we discuss what we thought of Mr. Satomi’s interview.

SEGA-Sammy casino gaming video takes bragging to a new level

Ever wonder what type of videos a investor gets from big Japanese companies? Me too and it will most likely be exactly like the video above. Oddly enough its even translated and fully voiced in English. The video isn’t humble at all talking about the greatness of SEGA-Sammy from owning ‘top leading’ animation studios like Marza and TMS Entertainment to SEGA’s ability to ‘drive Japan’s gaming scene forward with their superior game development capabilities‘.

This video is mostly to promote a new business within’ SEGA-Sammy called ‘SEGA-Sammy Creation’ which will be making casino machines. The president and CEO of the company oddly enough is Hisao Oguchi who has been at SEGA for over 30 years who is known for leading the highly successful SEGA-AM3 arcade team that created Crazy Taxi and Virtua Tennis series.

The video makes me question if the company understands that their IPs aren’t as strong as they used to be, since the video seems overly positive. But at least the company is recognizing console games as a division within the company.

I’ll just leave this here: 

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SEGA is not leaving the console market

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I just want to take this time to tell you guys the truth, not the half truths and not some clickbait articles that mainstream media have been passing around. I usually ignore this talk of ‘SEGA is dead’ or ‘SEGA is going out of business’ because this has been talked about in the mainstream media since the late-90’s and I just assumed  we were over these types of things. We are on the internet, I assumed someone would have pointed out fabrications if there where any and it seems not many have.

So is SEGA going to stop supporting consoles with games? The answer is: No. Here is what the statement from SEGA-Sammy said:

Local organizations managing packaged game software in Western markets will be streamlined. In the U.S. Sega of America Inc. based in San Francisco will be relocated to Southern California by this summer and its existing office in San Francisco will be closed, thereafter, which results in reducing fixed expenses, mainly in corporate functions. 

SEGA has stated that they want to focus more on digital games and PC due to the area having a bigger profit margin and considering there are over a 125 million active users on Steam and a billion plus market on phones, do you really blame them? Focusing on digital titles doesn’t mean that they aren’t making console ‘packaged software’. Nowhere in their press release did it say they were going to stop making console titles. If anything, they literally announced that they were bringing Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax to the West two days prior to this restructure announcement and a bit before that they announced Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX for 3DS.

SEGA-Sammy’s Q1 2015 financial report detailed and explained

SEGA-Sammy recently announced it’s first half results for the fiscal year and it came with mixed results. Some divisions have beaten expectations so far but the gloomy outlook for the rest of the year has effected the final net income expected by the group. During this period SEGA only released one major title but another up and coming title looks set to outdo their expectations, hit the link to find out what SEGA Sammy have been doing well and what the future holds for the group.

SEGA Reports 44.3 Billion Yen Growth for 2013, Digital Market Thrives

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SEGA Sammy has released their earnings report for 2013, yielding a net profit of ¥44.3 billion, or $434 million, and a 564% increase year over year. The company attributed it to strong Pachinko performance and the sales of investment securities and non-current assets.

On the home electronics side, SEGA’s top three performing titles were Football Manager 14 at 680,000 units, Sonic Lost World for a combined 640,000 units, and the Japan-Only SAKATSUKU Pro Succer Club wo Tsukurou! for 200,000. Despite this, the nine-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2013 in which SEGA tracked numbers returned only 6.5 million total units of games moved, a decrease it attributes to “the harsh market environment.”

It’s not all doom and gloom because the company also found what they call “continued favorable” success on the digital side with Phantasy Star Online 2 and mobile phone titles Puyopuyo!! Quest and CHAIN CHRONICLE as the top runners there. The whole division saw a 19.7% increase year-to-year in net sales to a total of ¥72,934 million.

Keep in mind, back in November, SEGA purchased Atlus-parent company Index for a seemingly paltry ¥14 billion.

The release of the financial data comes hours after SEGA unveiled its plans for a massive spin-off of Sonic The Hedgehog with Sonic Boom.

SEGA-Sammy is trying to buy Atlus’ parent company

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If you guys didn’t know, Atlus’ parent company, Index Corporation is in a finical mess. The company is in over $2.4 billion yen in debt and is also being investigated for fraud. The company recently talked about selling assets, but now it seems that they might just be bought out whole.

Bloomberg reports that 20 companies are in the race to buy Index, one of those companies is SEGA-Sammy Holdings who is leading the pack. It seems that bids have exceeded the $150 million everyone thought Index was worth, the current bid is at $200 million! It is said that bidding will be narrowed down by next week and if all goes well we will find out what company gets Index and their assets.

But lets say that SEGA does buy Atlus, would that be a great thing for gamers? I mean, I love SEGA and I love Atlus games, but Atlus always brought obscure games over from Japan for Wesetern audiences. Without them we wouldn’t have Demon Souls or even the recent Dragon Crown, while SEGA seems more hesitant to bring over titles (Yakuza 5, Valkyria Chronicles 3 and more). What are your thoughts?