I’ve been reading articles circulating around the web regarding Sega’s current woes. For those who don’t know, Sega is downsizing it’s western devision(s) as they shift focus away from a console market, and move toward mobile and PC markets. My initial reaction was less than pleased, but I think there’s more to it than what has been written.
When a company makes a statement like that, it usually means that they’ve been looking to move in that direction for a long while before hand. It might explain just how Rise of Lyric was released in the state it was; when you’ve already planned to move away from something, the effort you put into a project tends to peter out. It’s a shitty thing to do, release a terrible product to the detriment to your customers and staff because you decided you don’t care enough to make one in the end, but when has that stopped literally any other company from doing that? *cough* Virtual Boy *cough*
As I read into this more, I think I’m seeing the real message behind this decision. It’s no surprise that the way Sega makes it’s money from Sonic the Hedgehog. Where have all of the mainline Sonic games been going since the beginning of those console generation? The Wii U. Breaking to down to numbers, if you want your game to sell well, you’d put it where the most people are playing games.
Now to Nintendo’s credit, between the Wii U and 3DS, that’s a solid 60 million units give or take. But compare that to Xbox One and PS4 who’ve moved as many units as the Wii U paired with, I mean, every person on the planet has a smartphone or tablet at this point. PCs are the same way. Plus, if I’m porting between, say, PC, Xbox or Playstation, waaaaaay easier than downscaling and managing that whole process.
But enough of this business-y shit, what does this mean for us? Well, I can see it going 1 of 2 ways, which I will dub The Right Path and The Wrong Path. The Wrong Path will be bank on it’s IPs as it shifts focus to simple App Store friendly content, full of all the freemium game mechanics we’ve seen in games like Sonic Dash and Crazy Taxi City Rush. I’d imagine seeing a House of the Dead with touch controls… Which would actually be cool, but they’d ruin it like everyone does with “Premium” content. Mad Bullets with Zombies, eh, no thanks. The Right Path will be a continued dedication to full-on game experiences with it’s many in house studios, funneling the resources they save from pushing out physical products into revitalizing their storied franchises. Not to mention, with a focus on PC development, there’s every chance we’ll get a port or to the to the real next-gen consoles.
Yeah, The Right Path is peppered with a little bit of wishful thinking. That’s why it’s called The Right Path.
So, really, I think a lot of their current woes can be tied to them saddling their most profitable franchise with the least appealing console. Say what you will about the current landscape of the XBone and PS4, what games “gamers” play, it didn’t hurt them in the last generation.
If this results in them finally shutting down, I’ll shed a tear, but I’ve never been one to count anyone out too early… But now, as An Actual Sonic Fan, I gotta wonder: Who should take the reigns on the Sonic franchise if Sega should ever go under?