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

Phantasy Star Online 2
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.

SEGA still hasn’t registered as an E3 2015 exhibitor

Waiting for SEGA to announce their upcoming games and have them playable at events like E3? Well, you might be in for a shocker, seems that SEGA isn’t listed in registered exhibitors for this year’s E3.

Am I shocked? No, SEGA has already announced that they are restructuring and moving form San Francisco to the LA area this upcoming June. Sadly with the move comes a lot of the staff leaving and most likely people that helped with these events. I can see SEGA just showing off games with other bigger booths, like Yakuza 5 at Sony’s booth for example.

Personally I find that E3 is slowly becoming less relevant to consumers and wouldn’t mind if SEGA just focused on having their own version of Nintendo Direct where we see all the games coming in an hour long type of live stream. One thing with SEGA is that their fans are spread from Sonic the Hedgehog only fans to Total War only fans, these two fan bases have millions of users and having them come together for one stream will allow you to show them franchises they would otherwise never hear of.

What are your thoughts on SEGA not being registered for a E3 2015 booth?

[via: Sonic Stadium]

SEGA says Sonic the Hedgehog can be ‘the next Hello Kitty’

Now that SEGA has decided to focus on fewer titles, some of their bigger IPs like Sonic the Hedgehog will be getting more attention. What is in store for Sonic? It means signing up more third parties to make Sonic toys, clothing and other gear you might not need but will want to buy anyway.

“Sonic is a well-known character, but we’ve got a lot of room to grow in merchandising . We dream of Hello Kitty. We’re still far off from that but we can see that our profits are growing year on year in the US and Europe [on merchandising]. We’ve got a licensing team on the ground in the UK who are focusing on that and that team will expand. We’ve got a team in the US and which will also expand. We used to run it all out of Sega of Japan, but having people on the ground is making a big difference. We will always do the computer game but the merchandising is a very important aspect to Sonic.” – Jurgen Post, COO of SEGA Europe

In a way I’m glad that SEGA is putting their name out there more. I used to love going to stores and seeing Sonic the Hedgehog stuff everywhere. But then again, who wants to see everyone’s favorite blue blur get whored out? Who wants to see useless collector items like a ‘Sonic the Hedgehog chainsaw’? Funny that they also announced a Hello Kitty Sonic the Hedgehog themed doll a few nights ago.


Renegade Ops free this week for Playstation Plus users

Sony’s Playstation Plus service barely turned a year old last month and the selection of free games have just gotten better. Like check this out, this week you can download Renegade Ops, Gotham City Impostors and Pacman DX for free. The important game here is Renegade Ops. Enjoy the game, we did.

Rare hires design chief from SEGA West


Simon Woodroffe has been in the gaming industry for 20+ years working on titles like Simon the Sorcerer and Call of Cthulthu. But if you frequent this site, you probably recall his name from his work at SEGA, including working on titles like Renegade Ops and Sonic Generations. Simon Woodroffe is ready to move on and took the position of Creative Director over at Rare.

“Simon’s vast experience and knowledge are a fantastic addition to Rare’s strong Design team. He has worked on many innovative titles over the years, including some really impressive R&D prototyping projects. He is a terrific all-rounder and the ideal person to head up our Design department. Rare is committed to making the best possible games experiences that inspire everyone to play, and we believe the best way to do that is to attract the brightest and best talent in the business.” – Rare’s senior studio director Craig Duncan.

Its always good to see people that work on SEGA move on to bigger studios to work on more games.

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.

SEGA West Restructuring, Downsizing and Canceling Certain Games

Ah, it’s Friday. Let’s check the news. Wonder if we’ll see a Sonic 4 trailer today… wait. What the fuck is this?! Pardon my language, but some breaking news!

SEGA Sammy announced today that it will carry out “structural reform” of consumer business. SEGA Sammy also said it will “streamline” video game operations in the west to “create a smaller company positioned for sustained profitability”. Part of this streamlining will include cutting the number of SEGA games produced and canceling some titles already in development.

The statement read as follows:

The Sega consumer business is expected to post operating loss due to the challenging economic climate and significant changes in the home video game software market environment in the US and Europe.

It is essential to streamline [our] organisation in the field of home video game software, while shifting to a structure that corresponds to a change in environment, including strengthening development in the field of digital content.

We decided to narrow down sales titles to strong IPs such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, Total War and Aliens which are expected to continue posting solid earnings. In accordance with this, we are cancelling the development of some game software titles.

SEGA will still post profits of £152m for the 12 months ending March 2012. However, it will see a one-off “extraordinary loss” of £54m. This money will be spent on cutting back and restructuring. No word on what games are being cancelled or just who will be laid-off. Is this the end of crazy unique SEGA games? Or are the more risky games being relegated to digital services, and only the big IPs will get disc releases? Freak out in the comments section.

Update: According to IGN, with information said to come from sources within SEGA, all non-franchise titles will be dropped:

Earlier today, four franchises were overtly announced as being safe: Sonic, Football Manager, Total War, and Aliens. Our sources have revealed that any currently announced game that isn’t included on that list will not be published by SEGA, leaving a decent amount of the publisher’s upcoming publishing roster in jeopardy.

What does this mean for upcoming games like Rhythm Thief? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess. The source goes onto report that North America’s QA team has been axed entirely, with staff cuts also being made in the following departments: marketing, social, design, and development.

Valkyria Chronicles III isn’t being localized

I’m one of those people who fell in love with the Valkyria Chronicles video games and highly enjoyed the second entry to the franchise, even though it was on the PSP and not on the PS3.

So what about the 3rd game in the franchise? According to SEGA’s Hiroshi Seno, they have no plans on bringing the 3rd game over to the Western market. Why? Due to Valkyria Chronicles II selling poorly. I think part of the reason the second game did poorly was due to it jumping platforms, especially to a platform that is dying outside of Japan (the PSP).

Hey SEGA, if you have no plans on bringing it over, let someone like Atlus USA or NIS America bring it over. Thanks.

[Source: 1up]

SEGA: No plans for a full SEGA Rally brand revival

With SEGA announcing SEGA Rally Online Arcade for Xbox Live and PSN, the he question from fans has been; is SEGA trying to revive the brand and release a new console version of the game like 2007’s SEGA Rally Revo?

“Sega constantly wrestles with what existing IP we should try and reignite. We did a pretty good job with Sega Rally back in 2007, but it came out at a time when the consumer was moving away from driving games in general. There’s a bit of a resurgence in those games – I’ve got to say Codemasters did a brilliant job with F1 2010, it was first-class – and therefore, is it a viable market? We’re constantly looking at it.”

“Have we got any plans for Sega Rally on any platform at the moment? The answer is no. But we constantly review those IPs to see if we can reinvent them. A lot of it is dependent on what those platforms can do. And of course the cost of development.” – Mike Hayes, SEGA West CEO

It is too bad to see, but at least we are getting a digital title for now. One of the complaints for SEGA Rally Revo was that it didn’t have enough content for most racing fans, so maybe releasing the franchise as a XBLA/PSN title is a smarter choice.

[Source: Eurogamer]

Interview: SEGA’s stance on Digital Distribution

MCV UK has interviewed SEGA Europe’s John Clark about SEGA’s position in the digital distribution market. John Clark was the managing director at SEGA Europe, but he is now the director of digital distribution at SEGA and has given some insight as to what SEGA thinks of digital distribution. Clark says that SEGA is still very much a boxed goods company even though they have a section of SEGA dedicated to digital distribution.

SEGA’s Alan Pritchard “Aliens: Colonial Marines is still on”, 3DS News, Other Stuff…

Alan Pritchard, SEGA West’s VP of marketing and Sales, had a interview with Game Informer in the latest issue. One of the questions asked was if Aliens: Colonial Marines was still coming out. The short answer? Yes.

“Colonial Marines . We’ve been working closely with Gearbox behind the scenes, and we’ll be able to tell

Pritchard also discussed SEGA’s plans for the 3DS over the next financial and calendar year. In addition to confirming Super Monkey Ball as a 3DS launch title, he discussed plans for old and original IPs:

“We have a number of 3DS titles in our line-up for next financial and calendar year. There’s four or five existing franchises, one or two from the old Sega IP locker, and we’re looking at one or two new IPs as well.

It should be noted that in the same interview, Pritchard also mentioned that at least three Sonic titles will be revealed next year. Perhaps Sonic will be one of those existing IPs.

You can read the rest of the interview from the scans below. Its actually a good interview and he is pretty honest.

SEGA’s PR team has a sense of humor

Above is a drawing that came with the review copy of Sonic Colors that was sent to Destructoid’s Jim Sterling. It is him as the troll that he is, probably eating some Super Monkey Ball endorsed banana and talking about how horrible and mediocre it is.

Now Jim, put up that long awaited negative review for Sonic Colors, we are waiting.

[Source: Destructoid]

Mike Hayes: “Never say never” to Shenmue 3

SEGA loves teasing our poor little hearts regarding Shenmue releases. But things are turning positive, Shenmue franchise turned from a dead franchise to one with new releases. It started this year with Ryo appearing in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and now the newly announced Shenmue City. But what about Shenmue 3?

“While at present we have no plans for the franchise [on next-gen consoles], the response to CVG’s question has certainly shown the Shenmue legacy ignites a lot of passion among fans. Never say never…” Mike Hayes

I really hope he didn’t mean that he doesn’t have plans for the franchise to return next generation, because that would just piss me off. I think the Shenmue fans have been waiting long enough for their game, now deliver. YS NET is open, get them some good programmers and get this thing cracking.

[Source: CVG]

SEGA’s top priority is the American market

Mike Hayes says that if they need to go in, buy some studios, it will do that. He says that he wants the SEGA brand to hold as much value as it does in Europe.

“What I need to do is find games that are more appropriate for the American territory. That is very much where the focus for the company is going to be, whether that is in acquisition or working with developers on commissions to create more product for the American market. Where those brands may be less successful in the US is where we have a bigger task in pulling Sega back to the position it was. We want Sega in the US to be in as good a position as it is in Europe. …We’re never complacent. We’re happy with our position in Europe, but I need to be able to build the American business quite aggressively over the next three to five years.” – Mike Hayes, President of SEGA West

It all sounds exciting, but what studio in America should they buy out and games should they release?

[via Go Nintendo]

SEGA fires 73 workers, expanding digital content

SEGA has let go of 73 of its employees today, all part of their business reorganization as they move on focusing on social and digital games. 36 of the employees are from SEGA’s San Francisco branch and 37 from London. SEGA of America is said to be working exclusively on downloadable content int their newly formed digital division, while SEGA of Europe will act as the administrative hub, also handle console and PC games.

“In recent years, digital platforms have taken an increasing share of video gaming revenues and we believe this growth is set to continue, SEGA has already enjoyed commercial success within this new and exciting gaming medium and it is now the company’s intention to fully embrace change and set a strategy not only to maximize revenues within the digital space but, through innovation and quality, take up a leadership position.”

Mike Hayes says this is just Chapter 2 in SEGA’s continued evolution from being a hardware manufacturer.