Sega Strategy Meeting Report
07.23.03 - 4:34 PM

Sega held a strategy meeting in Tokyo today. At this occassion the company also reported its results for the first quarter of the current fiscal year. In particular, thanks to stronger than expected sales of Initial D Special Stage (which sold 260,000 copies compared to an originally projected 160,000) and Pro Soccer Club wo Tsukurou 3 (which sold 500,000 units compared to earlier estimates speaking of 460,000) in Japan, the company managed to sell 1.45 million units of software. Originally Sega had planned to sell only 1.22 million copies. For the entire fiscal year, software sales are expected to reach 9.25 million units. Furthermore, by the time Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft and Nintendo introduce the next generation of hardware, Sega plans to come forward with a number of hit titles selling more than one million units each.

On the game design front, the company conceded that so far a lot of its titles were tuned towards hard-core, long-time gamers. For the future, games should be made more accessible to new-comers to the world of videogames. Additionally, the company plans to offer communication-based software for download. Sega will follow the lead of other companies in the development of online and mobile contents software. Sega president Hisao Oguchi concluded, that currently his company faces two major issues: First, to find new markets for its profitable game center business is difficult and second, the absence of strong leadership, which led to the cancellation of merger talks with Namco and Sammy.

Oguchi also came forward with an interesting announcement regarding the future of former Sega AM2 CEO Yu Suzuki. One of the two new development studios which are in the progess of being set up currently, will be headed by Suzuki himself and focus on developing hit titles, whereas the second will focus on the development of a traditional strength of Sega, sports titles. Following the restructuring progess, Sega Japan will feature seven internal development studios by October 1st, 2003. Here is the complete run-down:

1. Team to develop games for casual users (Sonic Team and United Game Artists)
2. Innovative Titles Development Team (Hitmaker and Sega Rosso)
3. Development Team for next generation, standard titles for all age groups (WOW Entertainment and Overworks)
4. Development Team, that creates titles making use of movies, etc. (Amusement Vision, Smilebit)
5. Team to develop titles aimed at Sega's core group of users (Sega AM2)
6. New Development Team Headed by Yu Suzuki
7. New Development Team focusing on sports titles (parts of Smilebit and Amusement Vision)

Chris Winkler