In case you haven’t heard, for the first time ever, Sega will not be present at this year’s E3 2015 event. As the news spread around the gaming outfit; many were left wondering whether this meant something more? Sega themselves stated the reason was because of their “relocation to Southern California which is occurring at the same time.
It’s no secret that Sega have been struggling for years; focusing more on Japan and mobile gaming leaving only a trickle of games for the home console market. Which begs the question: “Do they even have anything to show at E3?”
Living in the AGES
Sega are one of the most recognizable brands in gaming and sit on a vast catalog of classic titles but the Sega today is not the Sega we loved. For years fans have been crying out for a new Streets of Rage or Phantasy Star. Dare I say Shenmue…There are several reasons as to why Sega won’t use their old franchises like Nintendo do so well.
The size of the company is nothing near it used to be and the number of development studios have cut down significantly. Visionaries like Naka, Suzuki and Mizuguchi are long gone and outside of Sonic Team, more or less all of its creative studios cease to exist. The team behind great games like Panzer Dragoon and Jet Set Radio now work on Mario & Sonic. We’re had a few original gems from Sega in the last decade like Valkyria Chronicles and Yakuza; the latter of which would have headlined Sega’s E3 had there shown up.
To be fair they have at least tried to bring back old titles. They tried with Golden Axe: Beast Rider but that ended up as a critically-panned disaster. Because of their lack of resources; Sega passed on development to some shi**y team in America, Secret Level, and that did not pay off. Sega struggle to even publish their own games these days. They couldn’t hand over Bayonetta 2 to Nintendo quick enough. Fans want old Sega games but frankly the old Sega is dead.
The Sonic situation
As mentioned before, Sega have had a cluster of successful titles in the past but they wouldn’t necessarliy sell well today. They can’t afford to properly market their games and it seems they’ve lost faith in their own products. Except Sonic the Hedgehog that is. Sonic is one of Sega’s only brands that will sell itself. While critically acclaimed titles such as Skies of Arcadia and Rez weren’t making the numbers; a lackluster game like Mario & Sonic at the Olympics Games is actually Sega best selling game ever.
However, the Sonic the Hedgehog series has seen better days. The series has often been a victim of slanderous reviewing over the last 13 years by American gaming “professionals” and in 2014 Sega released the Nintendo-exclusive Sonic Boom which is considered to be the worst Sonic game ever and sold accordingly. If its biggest franchise is struggling then dark times are ahead.
Long story short, Sega are broke where should they go from here. Let’s work on the positives. Aside from Sonic, Sega have the Yakuza and Football Manager’ series going strong as well as the Hatsune Miku games in Japan.
Sega had stated that they intend to focus more on the mobile gaming market and I think this is a profitable move for them. It may not be want hardcore fans want to hear but it’s a business after all. Mobile games incur cheaper costs along with a more casual audience likely to be less critical and I’m certain another console Sonic game will just get bashed whether it’s warranted or not. Sonic Dash has done better than Sonic Boom.