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Sega To Close Arcades, Cancel Games, Lay Off Employees 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-enough-tokens dept.
slugo writes with this excerpt from Wired: "The house that Sonic built is getting significantly smaller. Sega's Japanese main branch said Tuesday that it will close 110 arcades, cancel some games in development and seek to lay off 18 percent of its staff. ... Sega says it will chop 20 percent off its research-and-development budget for arcade and consumer games. The company plans to do this by 'consolidating titles to be developed' and 'enhancing the self-manufacture ratio.'"
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Sega To Close Arcades, Cancel Games, Lay Off Employees

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  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:18AM (#26824787)

    'enhancing the self-manufacture ratio.'?

    What does this mean? Outsource development to offshore companies?

    • Publisher (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338)

      Well, they were already a publisher too, which pretty much _is_ outsourcing. I guess they'll just stick to more of that from now on.

    • by NonSequor (230139)

      I've never heard this term before and I can't find any definitions but I'm guessing that since they say manufacture that this probably has to do with physical production (printing discs etc.).

      The production facilities that they own have a limited capacity and this may mean that they want to avoid paying a premium to other companies when their production needs exceed the capacity of their in-house facilities.

      Basically I think they're saying that in the face of a recession that they would rather risk not bein

    • Sega actually *does* outsource some of its work to the US.

  • Oh, damn (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Kokuyo (549451)

    I know a guy who's going to need a strong drink today... poor sod.

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:48AM (#26824925)
    Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned they killed Sonic when they turned him into a monstrous, slow werewolf and killed everything that made Sonic good. Why should I have to play a slow, sub-par action game to get to the good, fast Sonic levels?

    What else do these guys even make? It's kind of a shame to see them in such shape since they were a pioneer, but they need to make better decisions.
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)

      Perhaps this will signal a return to past form? If they have any sense at all they may take note of the lukewarm reception of their latest Sonic titles by the press and the public, and decide that perhaps these games weren't as awesome as they thought.

      Somewhere along the line they forgot what it was that made their games such hits...

      • by epistemiclife (1101021) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:23AM (#26825117)
        Actually, Sega makes a a significant number of excellent titles which no one buys, especially in America. It just so happens that Sonic Team's games sell well because they have the most mass-market appeal. Recently examples of others include the four Yakuza games, Valkyria Chronicles (the best game I've played in several years), Virtua Fighter 5, Virtua Tennis 3, and Outrun 2006. Since you mentioned Sonic, very few people are complaining about the excellent Sonic Rush games. Most of the games that people complain about not games developed by Sega of Japan, but games merely published by Sega. And to be fair, Sonic Unleashed is not a bad game. The werehog levels are not action levels; they're platforming levels. People complain that it's slow, but they only complain that it's slow because it's a Sonic game. If it had been any other slow platforming character, like all of the others, no one would have been outraged, even if they had disliked the gameplay. I think that including the levels was a bad decision, but I don't think how some evaluated it is very even-handed. Sonic games are aimed primarily towards kids, and they seem to like Sonic Unleashed, overall.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Perhaps this will signal a return to past form?

        You know how often people already thought that?

    • by mog007 (677810) <Mog007@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:44AM (#26825275)

      Didn't Sega re-release their old Sonic games for the Genesis a few days ago for the PS3 and 360? I'm all for nostalgia, but come on guys, you already released that sort of collection during the last console generation. Maybe they're going broke because they're out of ideas and they're trying the EA approach: make the same thing year in and year out.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Are you kidding? Sonic 2009 is WAY better than Sonic 2008!
      • by Cheeko (165493)

        The original Sonic has been on Live Arcade for over a year.

        As have many of the other great old Sega games. I still love playing them, but I'd hardly call this new content. Its great to have them, but its hardly a significant source of revenue. Seeing new games that will end up on Live arcade in 10 years would be preferable to me.

      • by Bemopolis (698691)

        Maybe they're going broke because they're out of ideas and they're trying the EA approach: make the same thing year in and year out.

        Actually it sounds more like Disney before the Pixar acquisition.

      • by Gizzmonic (412910)

        The SEGA of today is not the SEGA of yesteryear. That company went away when Sammy bought them. Nowadays they publish decent games, but most of the inhouse development is rehash or bargain bin trash.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned they killed Sonic when they turned him into a monstrous, slow werewolf and killed everything that made Sonic good. Why should I have to play a slow, sub-par action game to get to the good, fast Sonic levels?

      What else do these guys even make? It's kind of a shame to see them in such shape since they were a pioneer, but they need to make better decisions.

      Sega will be publishing Aliens vs Predator 3, an Aliens RPG, and Alines: Colonial Marines (A pure Aliens FPS) all in 2010 (or possibly early 2011).

      Respectively, the companies working on those are: Rebellion, Obsidian, Gearbox. You might know these companies for AvP 1, NWN2/MotB/KOTOR2 + former Black Isle stuff, and the Opposing Force mod to Half-Life 1 (plus some other games apparently).

      The developers at Obsidian have said that Sega is an amazing publisher to work with, and given that game line-up (and the

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        I remember when the first Aliens vs. Predator came out on the Atari Jaguar. If Sega can replicate even a fraction of that smashing success, I think they'll be around for a long time too.
    • by pizzach (1011925) <pizzachNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @09:23AM (#26826883) Homepage

      What else do these guys even make? It's kind of a shame to see them in such shape since they were a pioneer, but they need to make better decisions.

      They made the highly lauded and extremely difficult F-zero GX in the GameCube era. They also created Monkey Ball series. As of late, they have released House of the Dead Overkill for the Wii. Coming up they are publishing, The Conduit and Madworld. These are all _extremely_ big games for the Wii.

      As for Sonic...he has turned into junk food for little kids...and it shows. Little kids LOVE gimmicks and would be disappointed without one. This is the real Sonic to them no matter what you may think or say. This doesn't mean that Sega might try to make old school gamer fan service games every once in a while. (*Cough* Sonic the Hedgehog reboot on the 360)

      I personally think if Ristar had been chosen by luck as Sega's main mascot in history, their 3D tradition would have gone a lot better. His stretching arms are begging for interesting 3D level design. Hell, it should even be a flexible design that could grow well over time. Unlike Sonic, if they created bawl sections or slow puzzle section, there wouldn't be purists screaming "That isn't Ristar!"

      • That's SO not Ristar! By the way, does Sega have N.A. studio or will this be all in Japan? And yes, I didn't RFA.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Kind of sounds like they're making but madworld is a sequel or a knockoff. Conduit is hl2+portal... or so it sounds.

      • As for Sonic...he has turned into junk food for little kids...and it shows. Little kids LOVE gimmicks and would be disappointed without one.

        Sonic has always been junk food for little kids. The franchise has just been around long enough for some of those little kids to have grown up and out of it. Gimmicks? Did someone say "Blast Processing"?

  • Akihabara (Score:3, Informative)

    by Taulin (569009) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:21AM (#26828813) Homepage Journal
    I really hope they are not closing their arcade in Akihabara. All my friends are amazed when I describe how thriving the arcades are in Japan. The bigger ones are usually comprised of about three or four stories, each with a different genre or games (fighting, shooters, etc). They are always busy, and it is an amazing feeling I haven't seen since the old days of Aladin's Castle. This news really saddens me.

    -Phil
    UrbanLegions.net - Online Super Hero Text-based RPG
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I haven't seen any R&D, that's why arcades are not as new and exciting as they could be. There will be a second coming and there will be profit for the right company. Segas shooting games just aren't cool anymore! New title same old game! Why can't your drive and shoot at the same time? arcades need some good R&D. Me and my friend John have been designing _many_ arcade games, were just to stoned to do anything about it.

  • So this means I can expect Super Sonic Ball!?
  • Shenmue III.

    Suzuki, you bastard. At least write the book.

  • I haven't seen an arcade in at least 6 or 8 years. I live in California.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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