SOE Community Team No More…

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die.” – Ecclesiastes 3

A lot was rightfully made of Kate Burning’s leaving of SEGA America Community Team, it was a deeply unfortunate situation for Kate having not long been hired to replace the upwardly moving Aaron Webber.

She made a big impact in a very short time with her bubbly personality so she perhaps became the “face” of the SEGA redundancies to some degree being in the Community Team. As a result one story that has seemingly got lost in the shuffle is that of SEGA Europe’s sole remaining dedicated Community Manager Laurie Cooper, or ‘Lods’ as he known was on the blog.

I admit I was worried for his fate considering the mass bloodbath that went on and I did ask the SEGA Community team via Twitter for confirmation on whether or not Laurie had survived.

Judging by his LinkedIn page I guess he did not.

Laurie had been with SEGA Europe twenty months, he was the representative primarily working on the Football Manager brand, although he managed all SEGA Europe games and aspects off the social media accounts to some degree after I left SEGA. It can’t have been easy.

This does of course mean that with Laurie gone, SEGA Europe’s dedicated Community team which when I joined was four people strong now consists of… no one. There is Craig over at Creative Assembly still I believe, but the legacy of that golden era, of the likes of Rom, myself and Martin is now dead. Now I’m sure we’ll be told that Community is global – which it is to a degree, but there’s still a big difference between having someone who you can see and develop regular contact/relationships with. Despite having Kellie in charge of what remains over at SOA, having someone you can ring up and have a chat with during European work hours to see what can be done for your site is a big difference.

From a European contact point of view you’ve now got no real focus on you… everything I’ve heard so far has indicated no notification from SEGA on the matter to their contacts which doesn’t particularly bode well if they can’t even let people know that the person has gone. Who do those people speak to now? Simple fact is they don’t know.

It’s also bad news for the SOA based team as their workload presumably goes up by dealing with the European specific accounts like the SEGA Europe YouTube account.

It’s a sad end to a team that blazed so bright, impressed so many and left a mark on the way you DO Community in the industry. A mark now seemingly being erased systematically through cutbacks and refocusing.

It all deserves better somehow.

Laurie deserves better than the silence he’s seemingly gotten on his apparent redundancy, though I’d imagine it’s probably something that cannot be discussed currently. He deserves thanking certainly and the best of wishes to him for the future. Whilst SEGA fans need to realise just what they’ve lost in this team. Because believe me, you just lost a lot with the SOE arm effectively dissolving.

So tonight be you SEGA fan or SEGA contact I advise you to raise a glass to the SEGA Europe Community Team.  You will never see its like again apparently…

And we’re all the lesser for it.

Kevin Eva

Author: Kevin Eva

Gamer, scholar, gentleman & fountain of useless trivia, LMC's boss-man extraordinaire is also a super-awesome Community Manager who has worked on projects for SEGA, Square Enix, Konami, Capcom and more. Once co-created and hosted an international fan-convention because he can do that sort of thing.

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    This is a major blow. Hopefully SEGA can rebuild the community team in Europe again. You all did an awesome job.

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    This is truly a sad moment for SEGA fans, the company, and even the gaming industry as a whole. The SOE community team was one of the best examples of how corporations can use internet-age resources to bridge the gap between the industry and the consumer, the developer and the fan, in ways never before possible. They were truly pioneers of what I hope will become a common practice within the industry, although the outlook is grim with this major blow to the service.

    I wish Kate Burning, Laurie Cooper, and all the other former and current Community Managers the best. Thank you for all you do.

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    This is a real shame and a big mistake. Regardless of sales being bad of late, not having a Euro team isn’t gong to help at all.

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    This is a real shame, igot to knwo great people through the SOE community staff and was greatful for all their help. Hopefully maybe one day in the future we will see another SOE team of the same calibur, but by god that will be a hard act to follow.

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