Oh boy, is the balloon about to go up for SEGA Europe? Because in order to keep the wolf from the door SEGA has taken another dramatic step to keep itself in the black – and it is a big one.
SEGA has announced that it will be concentrating more on digital content (as we had previously surmised) but that from July 1st it would be sacrificing its territory offices in Europe to continue to operate, meaning France, Germany, Spain, Australia and Benelux offices are going bye-bye. This ties in with the news that French Press Manager Franck Sebastien was leaving SEGA the other day and that French blog The Blue Room (SOF’s equivilent of the Blognik) was going to cease operation as well. Distribution of games in those territories will be dealt with by other parties such as Koch Media in main continental Europe.
Jurgen Post, who has replaced Mike Hayes as head as COO of SEGA Europe said the following:
“SEGA is entering a new and exciting phase that will position the company as a content led organisation maximising sales with strong and balanced IP such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Total War, Football Manager and the Aliens franchise. The company will benefit from a clear focus and realigned strategy for our digital business and packaged goods and we are confident that this will lead to a successful future.”
Now I’m sorry Mr. Post, I’ve met you, you seem a nice chap… but I rather doubt those being laid off will consider this a “new and exciting phase”. This is terribly sad news all around, as I said a while ago you’d be quite surprised at how small some of those territory offices were, however France, Germany and Australia certainly have lots of staff. Combined with the recent investment in an Australian studio this is particularly surprising and leaves us European fans with little in the way of direct support.
Thankfully (and by God should we be thankful by the sound of things) SEGA UK will remain but it puts into stark contrast a lot of decisions made by the company in recent months, they are leaning on their core IPs HARD to survive – that much is now super clear – and at the expense of nweer IPs. Not even communicating the reasons to their studios – the anger and upset of Platinum Games at the messing about with ANARCHY REIGNS shows that.
Suddenly all the work and progress of the last five years has crumbled down around everyone’s ears and we’re all now in a very dangerous situation. What will this mean for SEGA as a company? What will this mean for us as fans? Surely with a tightening of the belts the future of things like Summer of Sonic after this year must be in jeapordy.
Make no mistake, today is the darkest day for SEGA since it had to transform into a third party publisher in order to survive… will throwing all its eggs in its core IP and digital basket herald a new dawn for the company?
To quote a common news phrase – this story is still developing.