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GN Podcast #504

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SEGA discusses their philosophy, leaving the hardware market, and their future in creating software for all

The following comments come from Yukio Sugino, director of internal game development at Sega’s Japan home office…

“Sega’s philosophy has always been that creativity is our lifeblood, and we try to reflect that not just in what we make, but in all aspects of our work. Staying consistent with this spirit is what’s allowed us to approach the world of entertainment in such a broad scope. With the arcade business at the time, we never really divided our market between Japan and overseas. Our approach was that we were selling to the world — there was never any discussion over adjusting our games for this or that region. With arcade games, you’re already losing the customer if he has to read the instruction card; you have to give him more enjoyment than he’s expecting for the money he pays. If we want that to happen, we can’t afford to have a language barrier, we can’t afford to make the controls difficult to understand.”

“Focusing strictly on games, the fighting game boom kicked off by Capcom was a major one. It created a real-life community; it reinforced the fun of going someplace where people share your likes and your hobbies. Another one is online. Sega’s been involved with mobile providers ever since Virtua Fighter 4, and more recently there’s been Border Break, a network game where up to 20 players can compete at once. Games like that let you go to the arcade and enjoy what makes network gaming fun without a lot of trouble, and I think that’s one big advantage that arcades still have.”

“(On a SEGA low point) Certainly that’d be when we retired the Dreamcast from the market. We tried to become a software company, but it’s been difficult for us to shake off the DNA stored within us from our hardware days. At Sega we’ve always had this deep-rooted thought that we needed to have representative games in every current genre in order to attract all walks of gamer. That’s really a first-party hardware marker philosophy, though, and the fact is that if a game doesn’t attract much of a userbase, then the industry really doesn’t need it. So we needed to change our concept to simply making gamers as happy as possible with our games, and changing that mindset was pretty hard for a lot of our company groups.”

“I want to get as many people around the world as possible interacting with the entertainment Sega produces. Our team members have spent long nights trying to make games as fun as they can get them, really valuable experiences. From my standpoint, seeing games like that go unnoticed by people is about the saddest thing I can think of. As a company, we need to bring our newest creations wherever they can go and show people the fun involved with them. This challenge of bring Sega-style play, Sega-style entertainment, Sega-style content to people worldwide is the road Sega needs to tackle going into the future.”


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