After ‘Betraying’ Gamers’ Trust, Sega Focuses on Quality to Rebuild Brand

Naoki Satomi, CEO and President of Sega, commented that the company’s recent games have “betrayed” the trust of gamers. He hopes to improve the quality of Sega’s video games to rebuild Sega’s brand.

Satomi addressed Sega’s console games, stating, “I’ve been talking to the employees about how we should start putting serious consideration into quality from this point on. Especially in North America and Europe, where it’s always been more of a focus on schedules, I believe that if we can’t maintain quality, it would be better to not release anything at all.”

Below is a table examining the massive decline in sales that Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sega’s best-selling franchise, have had since the 1990s. The atypical spike in 2007 comes from the Sonic mobile game, a rerelease of the 1991 title for mobile platforms.

Year Game Sales
1991 Sonic the Hedgehog 15,000,000
1992 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 6,000,000
1998 Sonic Adventure 2,420,000
2002 Sonic Adventure 2: Battle 2,560,000
2006 Sonic the Hedgehog (2006 Version) 2,160,000 (PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360)
2007 Sonic the Hedgehog (Mobile) 8,000,000
2010 Sonic Colors 2,800,000
2013 Sonic Lost World 710,000
2014 Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric 490,000

Sonic Boom’s market failure was particularly awful considering Sega’s concurrent release of a Sonic Boom TV series.

The Sega CEO went on to say, “we did our best to build a relationship of mutual trust with older fans of Sega, but looking back, there’ve been some titles that have partially betrayed that [trust] in the past 10 years.”

Sega would not commit to releasing a high-quality game during the remainder of 2015, with Satomi stating that “since we’re seriously considering quality, I can’t make that promise for the time being, but I believe we will announce something for home console at Tokyo Game Show,” which is set for Thursday, September 17 – Sunday, September 20, 2015.

Satomi finished by saying, “Sega in the ‘90s was known for its ‘brand, but after that, we’ve lost trust, and we were left with nothing but reputation. For this reason, we’d like to win back the customers’ trust, and become a ‘brand,’ once again.” This statement, coupled with Sega’s Sonic predicament, seems to acknowledge the purchasing power that gamers have and are not afraid to use to financially support developers that release quality products.

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