The publisher enjoyed a stellar 2008, with Wii sensation Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games sailing past the two million mark. The firm also recorded its first 360 and PS3 smash hit in the form of Beijing 2008, and now the company hopes to capitalise on this with a line-up of new and existing IP.
Games on display at the firm’s Fast Forward event at Luton Hoo hotel included House of the Dead: Overkill, Football Manager Live, The Conduit, Mad World, Sonic and the Black Knight, Bayonetta and Empire Total War, and MD for Sega Europe North Alan Pritchard is confident these titles will help Sega maintain its position as one of the top five video game publishers.
“Our ambitions are to continue to be a profitable publisher, and we’d like to maintain our current market share and publisher ranking,” said Pritchard. “And with the breadth of titles we have on multiple formats, I think we’re well placed to do that.
“Sega could very easily be a publisher that brings out Football Manager, Virtua Tennis, Total War AND Sonic to the market. But to have an all year round line-up, then we need to look outside of our portfolio. New IP is a challenge, which we can see at the moment with many titles probably not achieving their expected levels of sell through.”
UK sales director John Clarke added: “We’re performing well on Nintendo formats, and we’d like to maintain that. One way of doing that is with new original titles such as The Conduit and Mad World, as well as the more familiar SEGA franchises; Sonic, House of the Dead and more casual targeted software.”
Sega is also cautiously optimistic that it can grow despite economic uncertainty:
“Taking PS2 installed based out of it, the combined installed based of the other formats is around 20 million consoles,” added Pritchard. “So there are still a lot of gamers out there who want and need to buy software. There’s still a big market out there, and we’ve got to remain optimistic.”
Sega’s Fast Forward event ended with a special ice skating and fair-themed party, with retail buyers and distributors able to let their hair down during the hectic Christmas period:
“This is the third Fast Forward retail conference and the first we’ve organised in December,” concluded Clarke. “We’ve tried to take learnings from each one on how best to balance marketing content, hands on code and evening entertainment, hopefully our retail partners who have supported us at such a busy time feel that they’ve had a beneficial and worthwhile day. This is a great point for us to look back over another growth year for Sega as well as enjoy a little spirit of Christmas.”