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Sega’s Top 10 Biggest Business Mistakes

Sega's Top 10 Biggest Business Mistakes

Sega has been as big of a part of my childhood as Nintendo was. However, this wasn’t by choice, since I was the Nintendo fan in my household, and the Sega player was my older brother. To best describe my experience, I’ll put it into a metaphorical scenario: picture a typical GameFAQs or GameTrailers forum poster who constantly boasts about how great their console is while eating, living, and sleeping under the same roof for over a decade, and that’s what I grew up with.

So, that may be a bit of an exaggeration; it wasn’t that bad, but there were regular conflicts over whose system was better, which one had better games, and bunch of other pointless arguments I’m sure you’ve read/heard/been involved in before.

So, you may now be asking yourself, “Why this particular topic, and why focus on Sega?” It’s because of today’s current economic crisis. People are losing jobs, including yours truly, and many longtime companies within the game industry are fading away. I wanted to examine some of the business mistakes made by these large corporations, and I figured Sega would be a good starting point since they are a big highlight from my past. My other reason for choosing Sega is because they are getting a lot of attention lately, with the releases of “House of the Dead: Overkill,“ “Empire: Total War,” and “MadWorld.”

#10 – Treatment of Franchises

SonicThere is no doubt that Sega has a very long history of unique characters and themes. “Alex Kidd,” Sega’s former platformer mascot, made you fight to the death with your enemies by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. “After Burner” turned you into an ace F-14 pilot without the questionable undertones of Top Gun. For the Dreamcast, there was the oddly addictive “Seaman,” the short-lived rhythm based “Space Channel 5,” and the cel-shaded anti-authority “Jet Grind Radio.” All classics in their own right, but then there’s the king of Sega’s franchises, Sonic.

Sega’s mistake here is how they’ve treated these franchises. Although not necessarily as strong as Nintendo’s cast, Sega still has a place amongst the older (and still biggest) market share of the game industry. However, with the constant release of mediocre games based on these franchises (recent examples include “Sonic Unleashed” and “Golden Axe Beast Rider”) it really does make one question Sega’s judgment. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with changing the direction of a franchise (see “Resident Evil”), going in the complete opposite direction tends to alienate the already existing, and most likely dedicated audience. Taking “Golden Axe,” a well known co-operative arcade beat em’ up, and turning it into some plot-heavy single player game, is a good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) example of this. Another standout example from Sega is changing a platformer franchise known for its obstacles, neat theme, and speedy blue rodent, and adding in a werewolf “plot” or giving it a sword.

But despite the past few years of missteps, gamers still respect Sega. There is still a huge, although disturbing, fan base of hedgehog lovers, so much so that Archie Comics is still publishing their “Sonic” series, oh, and there’s this kid too. So while there are definitely ways to improve on how Sega treats its mascots, it’s not the worst thing Sega has done.

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23 Responses to “Sega’s Top 10 Biggest Business Mistakes”

  1. 2.o on March 19th, 2009 2:40 pm

    Ohh…. Sonic …. Poor, Poor Sonic


  2. GoNintendo » Blog Archive » Sega’s Top 10 Biggest Business Mistakes- What are you waiting for? on March 19th, 2009 2:47 pm

    [...] Full article here [...]

  3. Maruyama on March 19th, 2009 2:57 pm

    It’s all behind us now. Sega’s finally making a resurgence with HotD: Overkill and MadWorld. All they have left to do is fix Sonic and Sega will be well on their way to becoming a credible developer again. While they’re at it, they need to give us proper sequels to some of their franchises, tah-tah.


    2.o Reply:

    I wouldn’t say they aren’t a credible developer/publisher it…. It’s just they kept trying to “improve” Sonic, but never figured out that he only really works well in 2D


  4. UnitDaGamer on March 19th, 2009 4:15 pm

    let nintendo take a crack at making a sonic game!


    DaveDaGamer Reply:

    You buggin. Nintendo is not about the fans they are anout the $


    Unit Reply:

    They’d still make a hell of a better sonic game than what sega has been doing for the past couple of years! Nintendo already translated some of their 2d games to 3d successfully, Mario, Metroid, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart etc. so i think they’d know what they were doing. And if you say nintendo isn’t about the fans, than neither is Sega. Time and time again the fans have all cried out to sega to give us a proper Sonic game or atleast one that doesn’t feel like crap but yet we get what you see today.


    2.o Reply:

    I mean it’d never happen, but I’d be interested to see what they did with it. Unfort. they wouldnt be smart enough ti switch back to the 2D style, they’d try and do something “creative” with it. The funny thing is, they’d prob. figure out how to make it work.


    DaveDaGamer Reply:

    Nintendo CAN’T Do it. They’ve been polishing the same franchises for decades. They wouldn’t know what to do with something “new” like a Sonic game. They only know how to keep refining what they’ve already done.

    I would hope that after the 26 something odd Mario and 18 odd Zelda’s that hose games would keep getting better.

    People hate on Sonic like it’s the same people making the game. It’s not like Mario where you have an overarching vision. You have all these wannabe’s who feel they know what Sonic should be. Sonic the Hedgehog was always a flawed character in the fact that he was always too fast. We loved the first 3 games on Genesis because they were fun. But if you look at it from a game design standpoint, that’s literally as much as you can do with him.

    If you move him slightly off course, you get what you have now, frustrating camera issues that lead to painful deaths. Sonic hit his max a long time ago. And for that matter so has Mario and Zelda etc, there’s only so much you can do with these stalwarts before they become “something else”.


    Unit Reply:

    I’ll repeat, they’d make a better sonic game than what has been done. Period.

    Sonic,Need for speed, Tombraider, Crash bandicot, Ratchet and clank, Turok, those have fallen into the “something else” label as you would say. Mario and Zelda have not.

  5. R J on March 20th, 2009 4:11 am

    Say what you want

    But I still consider my dreamcast to be one of the best consoles I have ever bought.

    Best sonic game ever was Sonic Adventure 2, Shenmue 1 and 2, Crazy Taxi, Jet Grind Radio.

    These games made my childhood so happy.


  6. GagaMan on March 20th, 2009 5:27 am

    The Dreamcast didn’t need a bunch of franchise rehashes, it created a whole bunch of new ones: Samba de amigo, shenmue, space channel 5, Jet Set Radio, MSR etc. How can someone even have an opinion on a console they didn’t even buy?

    Also: Sega Net was the first successful online gaming service for consoles. It was an early X Box Live, so it was quite innovative. Being the ‘first’ to do something isn’t a bad thing, you know. I’ll give you the 32X though, that was a huge mistake.

    Sega bashing is getting so old now. Everyone makes mistakes, including Nintendo with it’s Virtual Boy.


  7. MarkyX on March 20th, 2009 6:16 am

    “The Dreamcast didn’t need a bunch of franchise rehashes, it created a whole bunch of new ones: Samba de amigo, shenmue, space channel 5, Jet Set Radio, MSR etc. How can someone even have an opinion on a console they didn’t even buy?”

    Yes they did create new franchises but they weren’t games good enough to make purchasing the console worthwhile. They were also more designed for the Japanese audience rather than Americans. Don’t get me wrong here; the Dreamcast is a great system, but people vote their wallets and in the end, the Dreamcast’s library of games didn’t cater to their market well enough to survive.

    “Sega Net was the first successful online gaming service for consoles. It was an early X Box Live, so it was quite innovative.”

    Not sure if successful the right term. It was workable, no doubt, but from a business standpoint it didn’t make much sense. Sega was literally giving away dozens and dozens if not hundreds of hours with their generosity. Coupled with the broken promises about the rebates and you can have a mixed bag. I was surprised they made these decisions because it was due to Sega’s generosity that killed Heat.Net


  8. pure nintendo » Blog Archive » Sega’s Top 10 Biggest Business Mistakes » freshly-squeezed on March 21st, 2009 5:19 pm

    [...] Full Article HERE [...]

  9. Maz on March 22nd, 2009 4:12 pm

    I would argue that the Dreamcast was most definitely a “Sega console”. It, and the games on it, were uniquely Sega and were what drew me to the system.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think things would have been any different for the Dreamcast even if they had done everything right. Sure they might have bought an extra year or two but that’s about it. The thing is, people say they would buyn remade franchises but Outrun 2 hardly flew off the shelves (and you can hardly get closer to the spirit of the original). Space Harrier, Shinobi or Streets of Rage would most definitely not have saved the console, as much as I would like to believe otherwise.


  10. Kogen on March 22nd, 2009 6:46 pm

    Stupid list.


    Lebeau_357 Reply:

    Accurate list! SEGA kept leapin’ before they looked. As a result they fell flat on their faces and is outta the race.


  11. ChaosAngelZero on March 23rd, 2009 6:37 pm

    One point, on the Sega CD and the 32X; it’s wrong.


    On the Dreamcast “not being a true SEGA console” and having “Japanese-appealing games”.


    Not to mention that there weren’t any sequels for Golden Axe, Shinobi, OutRun and Streets of Rage on the Saturn either, but there were killer new franchises on it, like Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Fighter, House of the Dead, Virtua Cop, Daytona USA, NiGHTS into Dreams…, Die Hard Arcade, uncut versions of X-Men vs. Street Fighter and MSH vs. SF, Burning Rangers and Clockwork Knight, among many others, and whatever the amount of new franchises that stormed the Saturn, there was at least double that number on the Dreamcast.

    Constant innovation was the name of SEGA’s game. You can also find more information here:



  12. colin hays on March 29th, 2009 4:38 pm

    you have GOT to be kidding.I noticed that the dreamcast could NOT burn ALL the disks


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  15. Lebeau_357 on April 17th, 2009 2:59 am

    Man this article hit the nail on the head for me. Sega always had (and I hate using this word) potential. They were always on to something, but never seemed to have the gun cocked when they pulled the trigger. I still play the classics to this day sonic, streets of rage, shinobi, afterburner, etc. However there were those other games that just had you wonderin’ “what the hell were they thinkin!” I feel like all the systems they came out with had great potential, I used to sit and watch my cuz play Panzeer Dragoon on the saturn, virtua fighter, and it was alot of fun…but then there were those game that just made you wonder ” what the herrl are they thinkin”, Even the Dream cast playing streetfighter alpha on that for the first time and seeing all the detail was amazing. I agree poor decisions, poor distribution, poor promotion, and weird ass games put SEGA on it’s ass. It is good to be agressive, but speaking softly and carrying a big stick has worked for Sony and Nintendo.


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