Sega of America Walloped by Layoffs; Western Publishing Reduces Focus to Sonic and Three Others

Illustration for article titled Sega of America Walloped by Layoffs; Western Publishing Reduces Focus to Sonic and Three Others

A restructuring in light of steep losses for the quarter ending today means that a lot of people at Sega of America lost their jobs yesterday. But rumors that the entire division is shutting down appear to be unfounded.

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Some Sega of America employees, on their Twitter feeds and via this post on Reddit, wrote of being called into an 11 a.m. meeting and being told of the widespread layoffs that they interpreted as a full shutdown. Sega Sammy Holdings, the parent company based in Japan, released a statement yesterday to investors that identified a "reduction of number of titles," that are targeted to the U.S. and Europe, listing four that seem to be protected. Work on anything else is likely terminated.

"We conducted detailed reviews of earnings projections for titles targeted toward the U.S. and European markets and decided to narrow down sales titles from the following period and after to strong IPs," Sega Sammy wrote, "such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Football Manager, Total War, and Aliens, which are expected to continue posting solid earnings. In accordance with this, we are canceling the development of some game software titles."

In a statement published by Joystiq, Sega of America re-named those four series and confirmed the layoffs. "As a result of the SEGA Sammy Board decision to consolidate the business, many of our internal functions will be re-structured and this could result in a number of redundancies within the publishing business across the Western organisation," it said.

IGN reported that QA for North America has been completely shut down, with Sega Europe taking over its functions. Positions in functions like marketing, social media and design also got the axe, IGN says, citing unnamed sources.

The reduction of Western publishing will surely kill off a significant chunk of Sega's portfolio here. In addition to the four franchises named above, western consumers have seen titles like Virtua Tennis, Virtua Fighter, Bayonetta, MadWorld and The Conduit published by Sega over the past three years. No word yet on what this means, specifically, for HD re-release plans for Jet Set Radio. But it probably kills rumors of a similar re-release for Shenmue.

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Layoffs Hit Sega of America [IGN]

DISCUSSION

Shinta
Shinta

Just continue to make Project Diva import friendly at least. :(

This is pretty sad, but I'm sure they lost money on Binary Domain, and I think they were going to lose money on Anarchy Reigns for sure.

I got Sonic Colors, Valkyria Chronicles 1 and 2, Bayonetta, Vanquish, Sonic Generations, Alpha Protocol, Streets of Rage 2, Aliens Infestation, Phantasy Star Zero, Phantasy Star Universe, Phantasy Star Portable 2, and Infinite Space all new this gen, so I did my part. I also imported Project Diva 1, 2 and Extend new.

Hopefully they can rethink how they go about publishing, possibly considering importers and digital more; or working closely with niche publishers like XSEED and Aksys until they can get their bearings again.

I definitely want Sega to stay around. They bet big money on one of the best studios in Japan, Platinum Games, and US gamers rewarded Bayonetta with a measly 100k copies sold. It was just pathetic. Vanquish is also the best TPS ever made, and didn't get anywhere near what it deserved. Sega of America was pretty cool. I love when they trolled the fuck out of Jim Sterling when Sonic Colors came out.