2013 will be the first full year for the new Sega: a big publisher that focuses on digital first, complemented by select boxed brands.
MCV asks European COO Jurgen Post how these plans will come to fruition this year..
The restructure Sega announced last year showed a focus on digital and a streamlining of your boxed business. Why was this necessary?
2012 saw Sega go through some very big changes. We made a strategic decision to shift to a pillar-focused business and moved to a distribution model in many key territories. Our digital and mobile business saw growth as did our licensing, all of which put us in a great place for 2013.
The video games business is becoming increasingly polarised. The big games get bigger and it becomes more difficult for new IP to become a commercial success. That is not to say it is impossible, but for now it is not what Sega will focus on for packaged titles.
Sonic the Hedgehog, the Aliens franchise, Total War and Football Manager are four incredible Sega brands with fantastic heritage and strong fanbases. We see those brands being at the heart of our business moving forward.
Sega has a broad portfolio so why focus on these four brands?
The four key pillars each have their own unique strengths and the fact they appeal to different consumers’ needs means Sega has a great foundation for growth in the future.
Sonic is of course an icon in video games and already has a fantastic licensing programme appealing to both retro fans and kids alike. He’s a great character providing plenty of family fun on a multitude of gaming platforms.
Football Manager is a classic IP with millions of dedicated fans and even some celebrity fans. 20 years on, Sports Interactive continues to provide high quality, critically acclaimed football strategy management games for PC and handheld consoles and we are proud to continue this tradition.
The Creative Assembly is in an exciting place right now with Total War: Rome II announced and exciting in roads with licensing deals including Games Workshop’s Warhammer. The dedicated and loyal fans love the epic titles created by the studio and this is something we are keen to continue.
Last but by no means least the Alien brand is a fantastically strong licence with huge appeal to core gamers and a fanbase that is always hungry for more.
Each pillar has a dedicated global brand marketing and PR team working closely with the game developers and the international territory teams.
You’ve already seen success with the Alien franchise in 2010’s Aliens vs Predator. What plans does Sega have for the brand beyond Colonial Marines?
Each pillar has a three-year roadmap so key moves are planned in advance and this goes for the Alien pillar also. There are certainly big things are happening within this team.
What have been your biggest successes outside of these four pillars? For example, how well did the Olympics games perform last year?
It was great to be a part of the fantastic year that London had and we were very pleased with the sales of both the London 2012 Official Videogame and Mario & Sonic.
Aside from this, in 2012 we successfully launched Sega Networks – Sega’s console and mobile digital business – and our PC ESD team have had an exceptional year. The creative partnerships and promotions that they have worked on with Steam, such as the Total War Weekend, have been outstanding and we are very proud of these achievements.
2012 was a year of many changes at Sega but the biggest outtake for me is that it is the people who are the biggest asset of the company.
In addition to the four pillars strategy, Sega is also growing its digital offering. What is your next goal in this space and how will you accomplish it?
We are always watching the digital market carefully with a view to explore new opportunities in the future. We already work with studios such as Hardlight and Three Rings on digital offerings so the future is very exciting for us.
What does Sega’s new strategy say about the changing nature of the games market? Is it now impossible for publishers to survive without such changes?
All markets to consumers are important, be they console, PC, mobile, boxed or digital. Digital and mobile especially are growing incredibly quickly but there will always be a place for the console in people’s homes.
What are your main objectives for 2013?
For 2013 we are looking at strengthening and diversifying our key pillars further and we will keep looking at new market opportunities for Sega making use of all available revenue models. And above all, we want to stay profitable.