Even with the recent news of relocation of Sega America as well as downsizing, it is hard to believe that Sega is going down the list. With an ever-increasing focus on mobile games as well as PC gaming software like Steam, it seems that the company is pushing the console way down the priority list. Recent bad reviews of Sonic Boom, as well as Alien Isolation and a slow release schedule, hasn’t done any good to Sega.
So what can be done to save the company?
Well a lot of people would like those titles that Sega just seems to be reluctant to release titles like Phantasy Star Online 2 and the fact that Yakuza 5 will have taken 3 years to come to the West by Q3 of this year, not to mention no-shows from the latest Virtua Fighter, Phantasy Star Nova, Shining Resonance and Yakuza 0, most of which have been begged for by Western fans for several years. A release like Phantasy Star Online would make for a hefty Western following and could potentially make a hefty profit, seeing as it’s one of Sega Japan’s best-selling IPs.
What would also help, is that the games that are released in the West, are actually of good quality. Sonic Boom, Sonic Lost World, Alien Isolation, Alien Colonial Marines, Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Games, Sonic 4, House of the Dead 3, Yakuza Dead Souls, any of the Dreamcast re-releases (and so on and so forth) are all major titles which should have been better but all missed the mark considerably, in some cases *cough* Colonial Marines *cough*. What do they all have in common? Average review scores due to an overall lack of decent quality. It seems that Sega is so adamant at rushing titles into the hands of Westerns, that they seem to have forgotten to put in the quality needed to sell titles.
Sonic-CryingThe Sonic the Hedgehog franchise got several mentions in that last paragraph and for a very good reason. It’s no secret that Sega has tried to shake things up for the spiky blue guy, but nothing has really worked since the transition to 3D way back in 1998. While Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2 and Heroes are still very popular in the somewhat odd and polarising Sonic community, none of the Wiimote swinging, werehog fighting or “2006ing” have really been of any major success, again maybe down to quality issues and also largely to messing with a formula that needn’t have been messed with. The last great Sonic game was arguably Sonic Colours, with Generations also not being all that bad either, though not quite the anniversary celebration it should’ve been. It surely can’t hurt to avoid another repeat of Sonic Lost World or Sonic Boom.
A slightly more obscure way to bring in the money might be to adopt some of the Arcade cultures Japan has. Sega Japan makes an awful lot of profit through the Arcade market over there and maybe a push in the West might not be the worst gamble, considering the dire-looking situation of its finances over here.
Thankfully, despite issues over here, Sega Japan is thriving, with a huge Arcade market and franchises like Phantasy Star Online. It also means Persona developer Atlus is also safe, due to its ownership being with Sega Japan, meaning Persona isn’t going to disappear from our shores just yet. What would be nice is that if Sega Japan could sprinkle some of that magic over here and quick, before the Western part of its company falls to pieces.