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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12 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.


  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 [...]

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