As an ongoing trend in the game industry, it seems Sega is the next to start downsizing in a corporate restructuring.
300 employees, all told, have been informed that they’ll be offered voluntary retirement, in the hopes that it will curtail future layoffs. Sega of America looks to be particularly hard-hit by this, with one of its offices in California closing and relocating as part of a downsizing that will account for 120 jobs lost between February and March.
The catalyst as part of a push by Sega toward digital, online PC and mobile gaming. According to Sega upper-management, those are good sectors to be in to push consistent profits (no doubt helped by the prevalence of microtransactions in supposedly “free” games). However, this move shouldn’t affect the currently known release schedule for fan-favorite Sega titles like Total War, Football Manager, or the upcoming Western release of Yakuza 5.
For my money, I’m not completely sold on Sega pushing into the free-to-play market. Such ventures are easy to do badly – as Sega themselves have proven on more than one occasion – and if too many catastrophes hit at once, the whole thing could come crashing down. That said, there are plenty of examples of free-to-play games doing amazingly on the market. (In particular, Valve’s Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 seem to be shining examples.) So there is hope for this business strategy of Sega’s, and hopefully it pays off well with both eastern and western audiences. Time will tell.
To start them off, I can think of a free to play game they could launch that the west would love.