According to Oguchi – who will replace current president Hideki Sato in June following Sato’s resignation over the recent failed merger talks with Sammy and Namco – EA has tabled an official offer to work with Sega, and the companies are currently engaged in discussions.
EA’s name has been associated with Sega throughout the failed merger talks, although it never really seemed likely that the giant publisher would actually seriously attempt to acquire Sega; a sales and capital partnership has always seemed like the more likely option.
Until recently, EA operated a reciprocal partnership with Square which saw the two companies operating sales alliances in the USA and Japan; this deal was allowed to lapse, however, following the merger of Square and rival publisher Enix earlier this year.
A similar deal with Sega would make sense for both companies – providing EA with a vital foothold in the Japanese market, and giving Sega a much stronger position in the USA. Oguchi made it clear at the press conference where his appointment as president was announced that he plans to aggressively develop the company’s overseas business, and this would be a strong first step in that direction.
However, one key bone of contention may exist – namely the Sega Sports range, which is designed to compete directly with the EA Sports titles in North America. Sega might not be too unhappy to see that particular range of titles dwindle away, though – it was after all hugely over-optimistic projections for Sega Sports, and a foolhardy decision to take on EA head-on over various American sports games, which were mostly responsible for the company’s recent financial troubles (and hence indirectly for the merger debacle which claimed the heads of the former president and COO last week).