SEGA has historically released games in Japan and Asia before bringing them to Western regions at a later date, but this strategy looks set to change. In an interview with Famitsu, SEGA’s CSO of the Japan and Asia studios, Shuji Utsumi, stated they’re looking at simultaneous worldwide releases for many more of their titles. It was also confirmed in their latest financial report that they will be revisiting older IPs to see which are fit for a reboot or remake.
The desire for simultaneous releases comes from data. Yakuza: Like a Dragon was the most successful game in the Yakuza franchise. According to Utsumi, this is because the game was released on multiple platforms at the same time. While it didn’t get a synchronized worldwide release, this is an angle the publisher is looking to explore. They’re now looking to “globally expand” all games from ATLUS by releasing them worldwide simultaneously and potentially on multiple platforms.
When asked about the Persona series, Utsumi said a “simultaneous worldwide release on multiple platforms will be a tailwind for titles” but they would consider each title’s potential individually. Lost Judgment will be one title that will get a same day worldwide release, as will the Yakuza franchise and Phantasy Star Online 2. Other new titles due to be released this year include Humankind, Total War: Warhammer III, and Shin Megami Tensei V, although whether they get the same treatment remains to be seen.
Looking further ahead, SEGA intends to strengthen their earnings by turning more of their IPs into a global brand. They’ve already made a start with Sonic, Phantasy Star, Persona, Total War, and Yakuza. They also intend to expand on the libraries of their past IPs and will examine them to see which are fit for a HD remaster, complete remake, or even a reboot of the IP. Some of the IPs considered to be dormant at the moment and which are being considered include Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Rez, Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, Altered Beast, House of the Dead, Streets of Rage, and Soul Hackers.
SEGA is also creating a “super game” strategy, considered to be titles that can be expanded globally through online functionality and other media. The first of these is a new first person shooter in development at a European studio, although further details haven’t been revealed.
This year SEGA continued to see the benefits of the stay-at-home spending effect of coronavirus. This saw a “significant increase” in repeat sales, considered to be any title released before fiscal year 2020. The highly successful Sonic franchise sold another 4.4 million units despite not releasing a new game since 2019. The Persona franchise also did well, selling 3 million units among all games with the main contributors being Persona 5 Strikers, Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5. This spending is expected to fall this fiscal year due to many people returning to work.