Sega Sammy has made a loss of £17.4m for the first quarter of the financial year. “In the home video game industry, the demand was generally weak in the US and European markets due to the headwind like sluggish personal consumption,” they said.
I don’t know what “headwind” means but it’s no surprise that demand for their titles has been weak. Apart from a few exceptions, like Vanquish, Yakuza 4 and Football Manager 2011 on PC, Sega’s output has been mostly middling.
Thor and Iron Man 2 were both typically poor movie tie-ins. You can’t tell me Sega expected Thor to turn out to be a ‘triple A’ title – it was by the people who made the mediocre Rise of the Argonauts and was being put together on a very tight schedule.
Super Monkey Ball 3D was woefully light on content, Sonic Free Riders was rushed out for the Kinect launch and was deemed unplayable by some reviewers, while Dreamcast Collection was panned by fans for featuring just four titles and no extras.
Virtua Tennis 4 did make it into the top ten, but only once the price was slashed heavily. And when Wimbledon was on the TV. Regardless, rival tennis sim Top Spin 4 was touted as the one to go for by the press.
Then there’s their Wii output to take into account – a crusty port of Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns, the forgettable Tournament of Legends, and The Conduit 2 which was delayed and then shoved out on the sly.
Early reviews suggest that Captain America is actually pretty good, but with review copies not sent out to the monthly press in good time and a history of poor Marvel movie adaptations behind it, it has sunk without a trace.
Fortunately Sega’s future looks a whole lot rosier. Going by what has been shown of Sonic Generations and Aliens: Colonial Marines so far, they’re the type of polished product that Sega should have been putting out to the public all along. Guardian Heroes hits Xbox Live Arcade soon too, and unless something terrible happens I can’t see that being too shabby either.
But why the boost in quality all of a sudden? It seems to me that Sega has only just realised that putting out crap and hoping it sells isn’t a particularly profitable business strategy.