Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Segalization as a whole.
It’s fair to say that SEGA Europe has been a lot more active on social media over the past year, especially with the arrival of Dan Sheridan as their new community manager. But while the renewed SEGA of America has been hard at work on bringing SEGA games from Japan to the Americas, things didn’t go as smoothly in Europe. Whenever SEGA of America announced a new game, SEGA Europe didn’t immediately follow suit. The release of Yakuza 0 in Europe was initially in doubt, and it took a while for it to finally be confirmed. The SEGA 3D Classics Collection for the Nintendo 3DS was eventually confirmed for a European release, but we’re still without a release date even though the game is already available in the US. Similarly, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X was only recently confirmed for a European release. Unfortunately it comes with the caveat that the title won’t receive a physical release, even on PS4.
SEGA of America and Atlus partner with Deep Silver
In that light, the recent announcement that Deep Silver will be partnering with SEGA of America and Atlus to publish their games in Europe seems like a welcome change. After all, the initial titles that were announced as part of the deal will all be getting a physical release. But regardless of the reasons, one can’t help but lament the fact that SEGA Europe won’t even be involved with the release of actual SEGA games in Europe, instead leaving them to a third party publisher. Perhaps even more so, because SEGA Europe showed that they can indeed handle a release of a niche game in Europe, both digitally and physically. But more on that later.
Digital versus physical releases
First, let’s talk about the digital and physical versions of SEGA games. We now know that Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X will not be receiving a physical release in Europe. In the past, the same already happened to Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F and Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax. Evidently not everyone is happy with that, and it drives some of the fans to import the physical US version of the game instead. This in turn takes even more sales away from the EU version of the game.
Yet there’s something to be said about a combined physical and digital release. This may seem like the best of both worlds, but there’s a problem with the way these are typically handled on console. In fact, when a game is released both physically and digitally, the latter version often gets the short end of the stick. With a physical release, they’ll often have exclusive (preorder) bonus items bundled with them. Perhaps even different bonuses depending on the retailer. Yet digital editions often cost just as much as the retail edition, and more often than not contain no bonus items.
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered: Digital Deluxe Edition
As such, I was surprised by the way SEGA Europe handled the release of Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. In a good way. Not only was the release date of the game the same as in the US, but the game also received an exclusive “Europa edition” retail release. Aside from the game itself, this edition also included a bonus artbook and a poster. But what really stood out for me was the digital edition on the PlayStation Store.
First of all, SEGA Europe released a Digital Deluxe Edition for the game, available only in the first two weeks following release. This digital version of the game was not available in the US. As the name suggests, this was a special digital edition containing various bonus items. But what really caught my eye was the price point. I had to double-check whether I was reading it correctly, since the price was €19.99 ($22.67). This was a departure from the pricing typically applied to a EU SEGA game. In fact, the Digital Deluxe Edition contained four PS4 themes and a pack of PSN avatars that would cost you €11.95 ($13.55) if you bought them separately. It also contained the game, which retails for about €24.99 ($28.34). Now keep in mind that SEGA of America was (and is) selling Valkyria Chronicles Remastered for $29.99 on the US PlayStation Store, with no bonus items. And typically, games in Europe cost more than in the US. Had this been a “regular” EU release, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered would likely have been sold for €29.99. And even though the Digital Deluxe Edition is no longer available, the regular EU digital edition is still being sold at €19.99. While it no longer contains the themes and avatars, that’s still cheaper than the US version.
I’m not privy to the reasons SEGA Europe had for making a Digital Deluxe edition, and selling the game at a lower-than-usual price on the PlayStation Store. But I can only applaud them for doing so. At least in the case of Valkyria Chronicles Remastered, SEGA Europe got just about everything right. Why this same strategy couldn’t be applied to other games from SEGA of Japan, I honestly don’t know. With Deep Silver taking over publishing duties for the Japanese SEGA and Atlus games in the near future, SEGA Europe seems to be going back to focusing on games from their UK studios only (probably with the exception of Sonic). Nonetheless, I felt it was worth writing an article about, if only to point out that rare occasion where a digital version of a SEGA game offered a better deal than the physical one. Hopefully it won’t remain the exception to the rule.
I’ll end this article with two requests for SEGA Europe. One is that I hope that they consider releasing a Digital Deluxe Edition for Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X. Now that we know that it’ll be a digital only release, they’re not tied to retail-exclusive deals. Selling the game at a competitive price point compared to the US retail release, with some bonus items, may convince fans not to just import the game from the US instead. Secondly: consider bringing back the Digital Deluxe Edition for Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. Selling it at a (for example) €28 price point means you still offer a good deal, and it may get people to buy this version when they would otherwise not end up buying the DLC.
With all that said, I’m not sure what the future will bring for SEGA Europe in terms of Japanese SEGA games. But at the very least, we still have Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X, Yakuza 0 and (maybe?) the SEGA 3D Classics Collection to look forward to!