How I would turn Sega into a profitable company in 3 easy steps.

Posted: September 23, 2013 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

So recently I was looking for any news on a Skies of Arcadia HD re-release, when I came across a link (http://www.p4rgaming.com/sega-ceo-we-cant-make-a-skies-of-arcadia-sequel-because-wed-probably-let-you-down/) to what was supposedly a response from Sega’s CEO to a fan’s request for the same.  The letter basically says that Sega sucks, Japanese gaming is dead, we can’t make you a good game anymore, we are so very, very sorry.  At first I was saddened to see such a bald-faced admission of failure phrased in such a Japanese way.  Then this quickly gave way to burning rage as I thought to myself “What the fuck do you mean?  You have a dozen decent IPs, tons of old hits gathering dust and not making money.  Even a frigging monkey could turn Sega into gold.”  Hopefully this post is just someone’s idea of humor, but if not, hopefully someone at Sega reads this and takes their blindfolded head out of their ass.

You say your best days are past?  Okay, fine.  So make that profitable.

I’ll admit that it’s been quite some time since I got excited when seeing the Sega logo.  So let’s just assume the worst case scenario, that Sega will never make another hit.  Not a problem.  Sega currently has hundreds of games that were huge hits at the time, doing absolutely nothing but gathering dust.  They’re not on Good Old Games, they’re not on Steam, they’re not on any of the console stores.  Why not?  If it’s a matter of updating the rights, how about you just don’t make the next shitty game you were planning and instead just renew them all.  Problem fucking solved.  If you have even one single product that could be making you money and would require minimal effort to release, there is no rational reason not to.  Sega has oodles.  Even the games that are available in one market or another are not available everywhere.  I should be able to play Phantasy Star IV on any device I own that can run it, which is damn near everything including my toaster.  The smartest and most fan-friendly way to do this would be with a cloud-based universal service similar to OnLive, so that I don’t have to buy it a dozen times and can pick it up where I left off on any device.  Hell, call it SegaNet just for the nostalgia.

Every Dreamcast game should be on tablets and phones.

Forget XBLA and PSN.  If those companies are going to make you bend over backwards to release every game, fuck them.  Android and iOS are happy to have anything you’ve got.  Pretty much any phone on the market today could handle Dreamcast and Saturn games and ARM processors are a great deal closer to old RISC processors than any x86 CPU.  I have an even better idea that involves Sega getting back into hardware in a way that would surprise everyone and possibly save Japanese gaming, but Sega would have to pay me for that one.  In my angry rant, I’m only giving out hints.  Speaking of hints though, it involves a move toward a dedicated platform for development that is locked in a “golden age of 32-bit” spec that is mandated to never change.  The idea is that developers were actually pushed to do better by limited specs.

Let other companies be what they are, you be Sega.

I’m going to just draw both guns here and remind some people of something they seem to have forgotten:  Sega has only ever succeeded as the underdog.   I’m going to tell a little story (okay a semi-long story) that illustrates how Sega helped make me the person I am today.  Not by being the winner, but by being the runner-up.

When I was a kid, my family was poor.  That’s why I have the skills I have today.  I didn’t start working on computers as a small child for bragging rights now, I did it because my mommy and daddy couldn’t buy me a Macintosh.  I started PC gaming at age 5 when I had to install DOS from a floppy disk so I could play Mega Man.  My first computer of my own was an Amiga I built out of scrap when that company went under.  In the days of the Genesis and SNES, I didn’t get a shiny new system the day they came out.  When the other kids were bragging about how they had Super Mario World, I was still playing a beat up old Atari.  So when Christmas of 1992 came around and the Genesis’ Sonic 2 pack dropped to $100 and appeared under my Christmas tree, it was like a miracle.  The most amazing thing was that even though the Genesis was supposed to be the “poor kids system,” Sonic 2 could hang right there with Mario World.  You’re welcome to have your own opinion on that, but there was not one kid who came to my house, saw those colors and that speed and didn’t wish they were a poor kid that year.  From there it only got better with Phantasy Star IV, Ecco the Dolphin and many more amazing titles.  Even though the Genesis was supposed to be the 5’4″ wimp in a heavyweight fight, it was the Super Nintendo that had to struggle to stay one blow ahead.  I loved my Genesis so much that I became a lifetime customer.  I found a way to barter or scrape for every system Sega made and although I was sometimes disappointed, I always had the cool game that all the Nintendo kids couldn’t play.  By the time 1999 rolled in, I was a strapping 14 year old lawn-mowing powerhouse, ready to earn the money to buy my first system.  About the time lawncare season hit it’s peak, the Sega Dreamcast was available for early rental at Blockbuster video.  It was a new Sega and it had a new Sonic game.  ‘Nuff said.  So for the 5 days that rental lasted, that Dreamcast did not go off once.  Not the least because it didn’t come with a VMU and I had to leave it on to keep my save file active on Sonic Adventure.  Anyway, I was hooked.  I reserved my Dreamcast immediately at the local Funcoland and a few months later was the first person in line to get it.  That system changed my life and brought me joy to a level that I think only my ’73 GMC Sprint and my current girlfriend have even come close to reaching.  I played Sonic Adventure for weeks.  Resident Evil: CODE Veronica and Skies of Arcadia were my life when they came out.  Phantasy Star Online I used to steal my parents’ fax line to play until 3 in the morning on school nights.  Hell, I still play PSO to this day at least once a month.  The point of this long reminiscence is that while I eventually came to own and/or play every consumer gaming system (yes I have a Jaguar and a Virtual Boy), no system by any other manufacturer was ever there for me like Sega.  I know I’m not the only one, because there are more Dreamcast fan sites and home-mods than any other system of that era, by at least a hundred-fold.  So capitalize on that.  There are an entire generation of poor kids who still have faith is Sonic, regardless of current reputation and will never let that feeling go.  Even if Sega built an entire market strategy on selling to nostalgia, it would be more successful than Aliens: Colonial Marines, Sonic Anniversary and All Stars Racing combined.  Since that seems to be pretty much the best Sega can do right now, seems like a no brainer.

In closing I just want to say that although I’m being very critical, this is a halftime pep-talk, not me kicking a dying hedgehog while he’s down.  It is not over, even if I have to eventually buy a defunct Sega myself and fix it.  I love you Sonic and I believe in you.  Let’s bring back those glory days together with your effort and our money, which we are happy to give you if you would just put in a tiny bit of the former.

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