Sega-Sammy has published a new “Road to 2020” article, outlining their plans for the next few years. The holding company seems to have ambitious goals, aiming to significantly increase both their overall sales and profitability in their various business segments. For the Entertainment Content Business, comprising their mobile, console and PC video game operations, they state that they want to focus their investments on “carefully selected” and “promising” titles. This isn’t exactly a new move as we’ve seen similar statements from them before, but it does appear that SEGA wants to focus even more on a smaller, but highly successful, selection of titles.
In addition, they want to move away from focusing on developing for specific devices, and instead focus more on developing their IPs for various devices. In other words, the goal is to expand their development channels around the world to allow multi-platform development (mobile, PC and console) for the same IPs. In regards to those IPs, aside from developing their existing and new IPs, Sega-Sammy is also looking to revive dormant ones and use “external” IPs (referring to SEGA games that use licenses from other companies, for example their Project DIVA and Alien games). Apparently, they will also aim for simultaneous releases of games around the world, a move that would certainly be welcomed by the fans.
In regards to the digital games field, Sega-Sammy wants to expand their overseas publishing business. But what this entails isn’t entirely clear. Sega-Sammy’s biggest mobile games in Japan have failed to make an impact overseas for various reasons, and their four biggest digital games in Japan (Phantasy Star Online 2, Hortensia Saga, Puyo Puyo Quest!! and Chain Chronicles) aren’t even available in North America and Europe. Partnering with other companies to release their games outside of Japan hasn’t exactly provided good results for Sega-Sammy (a recent example is the closure of Phantasy Star Online 2 in Southeast Asia). If they really intend to create global hits, rather than just in Japan, I think we’ll need to see Sega provide stronger in-house support for these digital titles outside of Japan.
Ultimately, while the revival of dormant IPs seems to be the most exciting news in their roadmap, I’m not sure if we’re actually going to see a lot of change in that area. After all, if SEGA wants to focus on fewer titles, we’re unlikely to see them revive many of their dormants IPs. Personally, what stands out to me in their statements is their intention to create “global” hits. After all, Sega have fumbled their chances in the past to grow franchises like Phantasy Star Online, which genuinely had (and has) potential in the west. Here’s to hoping that we’ll see this change in the near future!