SEGA’s President & Chief Publishing Officer Kenji Matsubara resigns

It seems that SEGA’s President and Chief Publishing Officer from SEGA has resigned this week as it was revealed via a short press release from SEGA-Sammy. The reason for his departure was listed as “personal reasons”, whatever that means. Matsubara held a few roles at SEGA like initially working as CTO for SEGA Network division before he was appointed COO of SEGA Games in 2017. He was named President and Chief Publishing Officer only four months ago, on April 2020 and has already resigned. Not a great look.

Before this Kenji Matsubara worked as CEO for Tecmo Koei and Zynga Japan, so he will most likely find work easy enough after leaving SEGA. What is your thoughts on the sudden departure of Kenji Matsubara?

Paramount Pictures announces Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Sequel in the works

According to Variety, Paramount Pictures and SEGA Sammy announced that the sequel to the Sonic the Hedgehog Movie is in the works with Jeff Fowler returning, and Pat Casey and Josh Miller writing the script. Neal H. Moritz, Toby Ascher and Toru Nakahara are also producing the movie, while Hajime Satomi, Haruki Satomi and Tim Miller are executive producing.

So far we know that Tails made a cameo appearance during the post-credits scene and in an interview with Jim Carrey on a sequel, he would be interested in portraying Dr. Robotnik once again as there is “so much room” to explore with the character. What would you like to see unfold in the sequel? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Fake 4chan Rumor: Microsoft buying SEGA


See the image above? One of the first times I saw the image was this weekend when longtime SEGAbits contributor SEGA Uranus posted it on our discord with a this link: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2020/04/12/xbox-XO_world-live

As you can see, if you go to the link it takes you to a 404 page, me thinking this might have been a leak, I went to Twitter by posting the image looking for more information. My thinking was that SEGA had exclusives promised for the upcoming Microsoft Xbox Series X platform that is coming out this fall, but I quickly noticed people pushing the narrative that ‘SEGA is being bought by Microsoft!’.

After this I decided it was time to do a reverse image search for this image and it only got one hit at the time. 4chan’s /v/ section and even in the thread, no one actually saw the Xbox ‘link’ working. This is obviously a well devised 4chan prank, so please ignore it when you browse online and don’t be shy by linking people spreading this false rumor to this article. I mean, do you really want to see a American company to buy SEGA-Sammy?

SEGA Sammy third quarter review for fiscal year ending 2020

It’s that time again! Okay, so financial reports may seem boring to some, but if you are a SEGA fan, reading these things is vitally important. Knowing how well (or how poorly) certain divisions did dictates how SEGA Sammy moves forward as a company. After the break to find out how the company’s latest set of financials turned out as they released the third quarter results for the fiscal year 2020.

SEGA Sammy to merge SEGA Games and SEGA Interactive in April 2020


SEGA Sammy has announced that two of it’s subsidiaries, SEGA Games and SEGA Interactive, are going to be merged into a single entity called SEGA Corporation. While SEGA Holdings Ltd. will be renamed to SEGA Group Cooperation. For context, SEGA technically isn’t a single entity, but rather multiple divisions under the SEGA Sammy umbrella, in this case SEGA Games handling the video games and SEGA Interactive handling amusement machines like UFO catchers. According to the official PDF file describing the merger, the decision was due to wanting to strengthen their research and development on new products for a global market, while also citing their previously discussed “Road to 2020” plan as another influence. It’s also possibly related to their declining arcade division, though that was not officially cited.

This merger is being planned for a April 1st 2020 schedule, though meetings between shareholders are also planned during February and March 2020. It’s promised that these changes will not dramatically impact production on future products, again with the claim that having these divisions under a single union will improve productivity for a global market.

[Source: PDF, Stream]

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.