A portion of a Wired interview with Sega President and COO Mike Hayes…
Wired.com: MadWorld was a widely praised title, but sales were disappointing. Why do you think that is? Do you think that “core” games just don’t sell on the Wii?
Mike Hayes: It’s difficult because it was a critically acclaimed title; it was extreme but good. The thing that we’re saying is, Sega would be extremely arrogant to have a title that didn’t do as well as we thought on a platform and then say, “Those kind of games don’t sell on that platform.” I think if you take our slew of more mature games — House of the Dead Overkill did really well in Europe, and for some reason even though it’s a big (intellectual property) it did less well in North America. So that’s kind of like a win and a miss that’s kind of come out neutral.
MadWorld sales were very disappointing, but was that to do with the platform? Was it that people didn’t like the art style? Or that people didn’t like the way the game played through? It could be many things, which we’re obviously researching.
Wired.com: What about The Conduit?
Hayes: We actually regard The Conduit as a success. We shipped 300,000 units, sold through half of those and now it’s at the point where it’s selling consistently at a time when Wii sales are generally depressed in the marketplace. So what does that tell you? We still kind of don’t know.
What we can say is that we’ll still do mature games for the Wii market because with an install base of some 34 million in Europe and America (maybe half of whom don’t own Xbox 360s and PS3s)…. So even if you took half of those where they’re not into those (core) games, you’ve still got 8 million consumers to go for. So I think the sheer scale of the Wii allows a shooter, or a mature game, to be a niche but a successful niche. And because the development costs can be less on Wii, that means you can sell less to be successful…. We can take more risks on the Wii.
Wired.com: So Sega will continue to have a commitment to making hard-core games on the Wii, despite the sales of MadWorld.
Hayes: Absolutely. You’ll see more games in that genre coming from us.