Sega is in rough shape. After reporting an “extraordinary loss” for the fiscal year in March, the company said it would dramatically cut back its game publishing schedule and then restructure its international operations. That is business speak for “we’re going to cancel everything that isn’t guaranteed to sell well and fire many, many people.”
Since then rumors have run wild about what would happen to Sega’s offices in the US and throughout Europe. French website Gamekyo claimed that, according to “credible sources,” Sega would be shuttering Sega Europe in the “coming months.” What’s more Sega would be abandoning console game development and physical retail, refocusing on small, digital-only releases.
At the beginning of June, Sega Interactive head Miles Jacobson said that Sega Europe won’t be closing any time soon. “Interweb rumors of Sega Europe closing are false,” said Jacobson via Twitter, “Rumors of a Dirk Kuyt signing to Fenerbahce? Much more likely.”
For those that don’t know, Dirk Kuyt is a soccer player who formerly played for Liverpool. The rumors that he was joining the Turkish Fenerbahce squad turned out to be accurate. What does that mean for Sega though?
Even if it isn’t closing, Sega’s European branches is feeling the sting of that forewarned “restructuring.” TSSZ (via NeoGAF) reported on Monday that Sega France’s public relations lead Franck Sebastien has left the publisher due to restructuring. Sebastien allegedly warned his team that even more restructuring changes would affect both Sega’s European and American offices.
It’s unclear how this consolidation of Sega’s European operations will affect the company’s publishing schedule. In the March report about the company’s poor earnings, Sega said that the franchises that wouldn’t be cut back include Sonic the Hedgehog, Aliens, Football Manager, and Total War. Total War and Football Manager are both developed in the UK by Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive respectively. How could Sega shut down its operations in Europe if two of its strongest properties are developed there?
Sega’s Japanese operations seem to be the most imperiled, at last as part of its international operations. Japanese studio Platinum Games’ Anarchy Reigns was supposed to be published in the US by Sega in July, but the company has since delayed the game into 2013 despite the fact that it’s finished. The Sega developed MMO Phantasy Star Online 2 and PlayStation 3 exclusive Yakuza 5 are both due out by the end of the year, yet Sega didn’t show either game at E3 2012.