Hajime Satomi, president and CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, recently spoke about the future of the company in the entertainment industry in an interview with the Worldfolio. He talked everything from the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie to the company’s mobile gaming performance.
Satomi confirmed that we can expect a Sonic the Hedgehog movie: “[the] ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie scheduled for release in 2018. Like with this CG animation production, we would like to expand our business into other entertainment areas beyond what we are currently involved.” He says its important to capitalize on what made the company famous and use that to propel Sega forward: “…our name and brand is still out there because of the famous characters from people’s childhood. We would like to change, adjust or shift our product, brand and business with the current era to be a leader again in the future.” It’s no surprise that the speedy blue mascot will play an important role in the company’s reinvention.
Another part of the company’s business that will be important going forward is its foothold in the mobile space, Satomi says: “We are strong in the smartphone and online gaming industry. Therefore, for our company to grow bigger, we must focus on expanding into markets other than smartphones and online gaming – such as indoor theme parks in Asia or animations.” He goes on to list the number of different rights to animations Sega holds, like Conan, Lupin the 3rd, and Anpanman, which he says are all popular in Japan. He also talks about the plans to open an “integrated resort.”
“For example, in Incheon we are constructing an integrated resort (I.R.), which contains a casino, hotel, shopping malls, convention centers and entertainment theater all in one. Instead of just laying off our employees, I believe that we can bring them and take advantage of their development know-how for these new projects. I consider this I.R. business to be the third pillar to the holding company.”
While the direction Sega is heading in isn’t surprising, this interview still gives the company’s plans a specific shape. With arcade gaming long a relic of the past, and console gaming on the decline in Japan, Sega wants to diversify the different ways it makes money and appeal to a broader market. The plan to launch into to other kinds of entertainment, including theme parks and resorts, could help the company right its course again.
Of course, it’s also good to see things like the Sonic movie and the continued games presence. Satomi and Sega know that their potential to be a bigger entertainment brand is built on top of the reputation their famous characters have with an audience that is well into adulthood, and can spend money on resorts and theme parks. We’ve also heard that new Sonic games will play more like the franchise’s early entries.
What do you think about Satomi’s comments? Do you think this is the right direction for Sega? Let us know in the comments.