SEGA Japan CEO talks about earning gamer’s trust, learning from Atlus and focusing on quality titles


[Update: It seems that their might have been some mistranslation when it came to Siliconera’s reporting on the story. While it said it was Hajime Satomi who was interviewed, according to Gematsu it was actually his son and newly crowned president of Sega Games co that was interviewed. It makes sense since he barely got the job in April during the restructure.]

Its easy to see that there have been issues at SEGA that they have been trying to get patched up. One thing is for sure is that SEGA Japan’s in-house gaming studios haven’t delivered titles that have been up to par and it always seems that they are trying to go triple A development and falling short with unpolished titles being released. It seems that long time SEGA CEO and President Hajime Satomi understands fan’s frustrations, he talked to Famitsu about how SEGA Japan has actually been learning from Atlus’ model of game creation:

“As far as the Western market goes, we learned a lot from Atlus. If we can make a title with proper quality, I believe there’s a good chance for it to do well even in the West for players that like to play Japanese games.”

It also seems that Satomi is really eyeing the Playstation 4 as a future console they want to release titles on, while the company has been only focusing on the Nintendo Wii U in the West in the last few years (it seems that might change):

“It may look rough if you look a it from a Japanese standpoint, but on a global scale the PlayStation 4 has a record-selling history, so I believe there’s a good opportunity there,”

While we know SEGA will have a big focus on mobile games, considering that a huge percentage of Japanese gamers are using the platform as its main gaming machine, Famitsu asked him what they are looking to focus more on when it comes to console games. Answer? Quality.

“I’ve been talking to the employees about how we should start putting serious consideration into quality from this point on. Especially in North America and Europe, where it’s always been more of a focus on schedules, I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.”

He even went on to acknowledge that they have put out titles in the last ten years that could have betrayed fans of SEGA’s trust… this is pretty big thing to say for a CEO, especially from SEGA Japan.

“We did our best to build a relationship of mutual trust with older fans of Sega, but looking back, there’ve been some titles that have partially betrayed that [trust] in the past 10 years.”

Famitsu kept on with the hard hitting questions on the topic and asked if they could expect a high quality title to be released sometime in the second half of this year.

“Since we’re seriously considering quality, I can’t make that promise for the time being, but I believe we will announce something for home console at Tokyo Game Show,”

While he didn’t want to say that the TGS game would come out this year, considering his comment to commit to quality products I don’t blame him if he wants to take his time. Famitsu’s last question was all about what we can look forward to in the future from SEGA:

“Sega in the ‘90s was known for its ‘brand, but after that, we’ve lost trust, and we were left with nothing but ‘reputation. For this reason, we’d like to win back the customers’ trust, and become a ‘brand,’ once again.”

This seems to be rather big admission from SEGA of Japan, who don’t really comment on game quality all that much, at least not their CEO. I hope this means that the higher ups really understand that they should put their consumers first. But hey, I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, so bring it on TGS!

[Source: Siliconera]


16 responses to “SEGA Japan CEO talks about earning gamer’s trust, learning from Atlus and focusing on quality titles

  1. Trippled says:

    Sega Japan in-house studios falling short? Yeah, there is mobile as a focus, but really other than maybe Sonic Lost World, Sega Japan isnt really making bad games.

  2. Ryan says:

    I still hope there will be sonic games on wii u, especially the 25th anniversary game.

    • Hento says:

      Who cares about the Wii u, it’s a pointless console, and it’s a nintendo one too.
      Personally getting sick of seeing Sonic on it.

  3. John says:

    As long as we get some Phantasy Stars I’ll forgive them.

  4. Ron Jeremy says:

    Putting your money where your mouth in this case means throwing some money and support behind Suzuki’s Shenmue 3 project, methinks.

    • George says:

      Believe it or not, kicking a pledge on a kickstarter isn’t going to convince mainstream gamers that SEGA Japan still has good in-house game development studios….

  5. diesel says:

    Hey…Haruki Satomi

  6. Elly says:

    Does this mean we get finally Yakuza collection, Valkyrie Chronicles, Street of rage and Panzer dragoon? Or have sega eyes finally have been opened now that they are seeing that the Shenmue Kickstarter is doing well?? Personally I think they have made some good decisions with in the last 5-10 years, they have acquired Atlus, … (relic.. I think 2) and some other developers.
    Also I think they finally heard Tom Kalincky voice echo in there heads ( the spicy interview he towards sega)

  7. fernandeath says:

    This speech sounds great
    But let’s see if we’ll ever get the games we desire from them…

  8. PoppaAz says:

    How about releasing the remakes of the first 4 phantasy star games and phantasy star online 2 for the world to play. SEGA really dropped the ball when gamers were denied these games.

  9. Niki says:

    I’d love see a full resurgence of Shenmue – not just 3 but 1 and 2 remastered. Any number of Saturn/Dreamcast games too- jest set radio, Sega rally, virtua fighter – Sega is so much more than sonic.

  10. Christian says:

    Hire Yu team to do Shenmue HD and Shenmue II HD in unreal engine 4. Then I forgive you Hajime :). Then sell the copies and keep all the sales. But let Yu use the resources created to do the HD version to make Shenmue III.

  11. am2model3 says:

    nice satomi, so if Sega Japan has a lost 10 years, I would hope that the next 5 to 10 years are stellar!

    You can start with…..Sega Racers Megamix!

  12. Glassed Silver says:

    Bring back Segata Sanshiro!

  13. Elk says:

    You know, I’m so glad to hear this straight from Sega’s CEO. Think about companies like Capcom and Konami (Especially Konami) where they’re guilty of all the same crimes Sega’s committed in the past 10 years and then some and they STILL not only don’t realize what they’re doing wrong, but they REFUSE to acknowledge that they’re doing something wrong. This is why I still believe in Sega. Most people don’t realize it, but they’re one of the more humble video game companies still swinging today.

    Sega’s finally admitted they have a big problem and they have a goal to fix it. They just need to make sure they have a good plan. All I can say to Sega is “Good luck and I’ll be rooting for you all the way. If you can make things right again I will gladly forgive your past travesties like Sonic 06, Sonic Boom ROL, and Golden Axe Beast Rider and pretend they never happened.”

  14. marc says:

    during the sega genisis years all the way up to 32x i loved sega!! then sega dropped support of it after this expensive add on only had a handful of games. i was pissed and stopped supporting them! after years to cool down, i started to read more about the dreamcast. setting aside my mistrust and anger, i told my self sega, you got one more chance! win me back… omg SEGA blew me outta the water!! i could not believe the quality and love i felt from that company!! it has been and shall always be my favorite console!! dreamcast!!! i was sad to see it go. and sega told me they were going to focus solely on quality games, i figured wow man they are really going to churn out a bunch of kick ass stuff!! only to be terribly disappinted besides ALIEN isolation im basicly back to hating sega again. ONE thing i know for a fact is that SEGA knows and can pull things around and rise far above theyre ashes of failure!! if sega says they want to rebuild trust with their fans, i personaly know that they will. SEGA im waiting with open arms, and wallet!! bring it on in…

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