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.
The major problem both sites had was misreading SEGA’s press release. Let’s take a look at the original statement from SEGA:
Due to the challenging economic climate and significant changes within the interactive gaming industry, SEGA has made the decision to consolidate its publishing business in order to focus on developing digital content and driving its existing IP such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Total War, Football Manager and the Aliens franchise. This realignment of the business around existing and digital IP is a necessity to ensure that SEGA continues to invest and enhance its digital business offering, whilst reducing its reliance on traditional packaged goods.
So SEGA will focus on digital content and strong existing IPs such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Total War, Football Manager and the Aliens franchise. The key word is “such as”. These IPs are given as EXAMPLES, but they are not the only four IPs that SEGA will continue to push in the future. While this may mean that we’ll see less new IPs like Anarchy Reigns, Rhythm Thief and Binary Domain, it does not mean that SEGA has killed off Phantasy Star, the Shining series, Super Monkey Ball and Yakuza. Unfortunatly, Kotaku glossed over “such as” and proclaimed the following in their headline:
Sega of America Walloped by Layoffs; Western Publishing Reduces Focus to Sonic and Three Others
The article continued with this line of thought by saying “Sega Sammy Holdings, the parent company based in Japan, released a statement yesterday to investors that identified a “reduction of number of titles,” that are targeted to the U.S. and Europe, listing four that seem to be protected. Work on anything else is likely terminated.”. Did SEGA directly state that any other IP being worked on outside those four are dead? Did SEGA state that Phantasy Star Online 2 is dead, or that Jet Set Radio’s rerelease is cancelled? No, they did not. But Kotaku assumed that anything else aside from the four IPs listed are likely terminated. To be fair, SEGA did state “we are cancelling the development of some game software titles”, but not once did SEGA proclaim a mass cancellation. I’m certain some unannounced titles were canned, and we’ll learn of them someday, and that a few announced titles might be published by another company. But Phantasy Star Online 2 is dead? I don’t think so.
Kotaku, as well as toplessrobot.com, also forgot that SEGA gave mention to developing digital content. Fellow SEGAbits writer Aki-At will gladly chat your ears off (type your eyes out?) about how digital releases yield more profit than physical releases, and I think it’s a given that rereleases like Jet Set Radio cost far less than a new game. So in light of this news, is SEGA canceling the rerelease of Dreamcast, Saturn and Genesis titles? Not likely. For one thing, these fall under the digital content that SEGA is so keen on maintaining. We may not see a Jet Set Radio 3 or Shenmue 3 any time soon, but rereleases of the original titles are almost certain. And who knows, if the rereleases get stellar sales it just might open doors for sequels. The recent leak of a potential Sonic Adventure 2 digital release only strengthens that idea that digital rereleases are not only safe, but are a part of SEGA’s revised direction.
I wanted to end with what gaming blog toplessrobot.com said. I’ll admit, I’ve never heard of them until now, and if their other content is as bad as their SEGA story, I wasn’t missing much. The article was titled “Sega Is (Mostly) Dead”. The writer kicked the article off my doing as Kotaku did and misread SEGA’s statement, thinking that the four IP mentioned are all we’ll ever see from SEGA in the future. The writer went on to say:
So no more Shenmues or Houses of the Dead. So long to Bayonetta, Phantasy Star, Golden Axe, and Jet Set Radio (which may no longer be coming to Xbox Live and PSN now). Goodbye to Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Fighter, Rez, Space Channel 5, and so much more.
A quater of those titles have been IPs forgotten since the Dreamcast days, however rereleases of the original games have either already released (the excellent Space Channel 5 Part 2) or are rumored to come. House of the Dead Overkill just received an awesome HD port on the PS3 complete with new content, and the fourth title is set for a release this month. Golden Axe was never a strong modern IP, it’s a SEGA classic, but I and I’m sure many SEGA fans have never yearned for anything after 2008’s Beast Rider. Rez and Panzer Dragoon have received spiritual successors via Kinect’s Child of Eden and Crimson Dragon. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is set for a digital release this year.
So it seems toplessrobot.com’s writer is one of those poser SEGA fans who never really paid attention to the company until some bad news pops up on their news feed, usually misreported by a major site like Kotaku which in turn leads to smaller sites spreading false info. When SEGA is on a roll? The general gaming public seems to ignore them and pick on the few negatives, like Sonic 4’s physics or Crazy Taxi’s lack of music. And when SEGA announces something like they did last Friday, gaming fans jump in with heaps of opinion, lots of half-truths and a good deal of false statements.
The lesson readers can take away from this editorial? Until you read the press release, don’t believe everything you read. Also, make sure to frequent trusted fan sites rather than sites that value hits over facts.Ad: