Sega president Kenji Matsubara abruptly resigns

Sega president Kenji Matsubara has abruptly resigned from the company.

Matsubara tendered his resignation on Friday, citing “personal reasons,” Sega parent company Sega Sammy said in an abbreviated statement. The company said the resignation is effective immediately and hasn’t announced who will replace the developer’s top executive.

It’s unclear what may have precipitated Matsubara’s resignation, but it doesn’t appear to have been planned. In April, he seemed to be fully involved in Sega’s operations and was given chief publishing officer duties in addition to his president role. He also served as a Sega Sammy board director — another role he’s vacating on Friday.

Sega Sammy did not immediately respond to Digital Trends’ request for comment on Matsubara’s departure and the events surrounding it.

Matsubara joined Sega’s networks division in 2014 as its chief technology officer. In 2017, Sega Sammy elevated him to president, where he oversaw all of Sega’s development operations. Before joining Sega, Matsubara was the president and CEO at Japanese gaming company Tecmo Koei. He also served as Zynga Japan’s CEO for two years.

Sega’s new leadership void comes as the company tries to reinvent itself in the ever-changing gaming industry. While Sega served as one of the most prominent game companies in the world in the 1990s, since it discontinued its Dreamcast console in 2001, it’s focused on game development and delivered a variety of titles from some of its most popular franchises, including the Sonic the Hedgehog.

Looking ahead, Sega has two publicly announced games in development — a PC title slated to launch on August 13 called Troy: A Total War Saga and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which will release on both current- and next-generation consoles. Sega hasn’t announced Like a Dragon‘s launch date.

Sega is also trying to capitalize on nostalgia and announced last month a slate of micro Game Gear handhelds. Each of the four devices will cost $50 and come in distinct colors — blue, yellow, red, and black. Depending on the model customers choose, they’ll find four different games, including Sonic the Hedgehog (black model) and Sonic Chaos (blue model). Players who want to play all 16 classic Game Gear games will need to buy each version. The Game Gear handhelds launch on October 6.

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