It's never easy to learn about a beloved brand having to work through something as difficult as large-scale job cuts. As an industry that seems to be in a constant state of flux, this is sadly just par for the course. Despite being a significant source of nostalgia for many gamers growing up, it has been revealed that Sega is the latest company to face a "group structure reform."
This news comes following an incredibly polarizing year for the console giant of yore. While titles like Alien: Isolation impressed the masses (check out our review) and provided gamers with unique and memorable gameplay experiences, Sonic's latest outing with Sonic Boom was panned by critics. In a move to streamline their packaging business and focus more heavily on the distribution of digital content, Sega's restructuring plans are expected to affect "around 300" employees.
According to a notice of reform that was released overnight, a large quantity of the company's employees with be offered early retirement packages as they work to reduce unnecessary costs and focus on what they deem to be growth areas. Despite having a legacy that stems from years in the console manufacturing market, moving forward they will instead be focusing on digital distribution in the form of "smartphone and PC online gaming."
“Voluntary retirement will be solicited in the aforementioned businesses to be withdrawn or consolidated and downsized, while at the same time personnel will be repositioned in digital games and growth areas of Group mainly as development personnel, in order to establish a structure which can constantly generate profits.”
In particular, the company's San Francisco headquarters will be facing closure as they make the move to southern California. Having stood as a legendary staple of the gaming industry, this is sad news indeed. Outside of this, it is still unknown exactly how this restructuring will directly affect gamers. With the company's new focus being placed on digital content, many gamers are worried that this could mean a drastically reduced number of Sega titles making their way to consoles in the future.
Regardless of what this means for gamers in the long run, it is a difficult day for all those involved with Sega. Thankfully, the industry has shown a history of aiding those affected by large-scale lay-offs. One can only hope that the same can be said for those affected by Sega's latest. The company has played a major part in shaping the modern state of the video game industry, so to see them participating in a reduced manner is difficult to see.
With ideas for a sequel to Alien: Isolation being explored, Sega certainly does have strong potential titles on the horizon. If they intend to focus on mobile and PC digital distribution as they move forward, could this affect the chances of seeing the next Alien: Isolation title on modern consoles? With consoles continuing to move towards a primarily digital future, one can only hope that Sega will find a revitalization thanks to their altered focus.
What are your best memories from Sega's long and storied history? Do you think Sega will continue distributing titles for consoles as they move forward?