Sad Sonic

‘Sega’ Turns Focus To PC And Mobile As Company Downsizes, More Than 400 Employees Affected

Japanese game company Sega announced Friday that it is letting a considerable number of employees go through “voluntary retirement” and layoffs. The move comes as part of a restructuring of the company that not only results in a move for its North American headquarters, but a change in focus away from console gaming.

According to a press release from Sega, the company is moving from its San Francisco offices to a new location in Southern California. This is part of a downsizing that will see retirement packages offered to 300 employees with another 120 employees to be let go through layoffs. These moves have begun and are expected to be completed by the summer.

“This move was crucial to keep SEGA operations moving forward throughout North America and to provide our millions of fans a strong pipeline of content across gaming, TV, merchandising, and more,” said Sega COO John Cheng. “We are confident that by relocating to Southern California we will be able to thrive, grow and become a stronger company because of it.”

Total War: Atilla unaffected by Sega layoffs.
Total War: Atilla unaffected by Sega layoffs.

Sega’s current line-up of 2015 releases will be unaffected. This includes three Total War games from Creative Assembly, Football Manager, Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX, and the western release of Yakuza 5. The company will change its focus going forward, however.

“SEGA has positioned Digital Games, centered around smartphone and PC online gaming as a growth area,” the company stated in a note. “[P]ersonnel will be re-positioned in Digital Games and growth areas of Group mainly as development personnel.”

This shift to PC and digital games appears to be an ongoing process, however. It made a similar statement during a 2013 restructuring before closing the Australian studio in April 2014, as Capsule Computers noted.

Sonic, the company’s flagship mascot, will seemingly be unaffected despite the disappointing Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric release for the Wii U. The Sonic Boom television series on Cartoon Network will continue and the hedgehog will still be a centerpiece of Sega’s merchandising efforts. That part of the business will be “reinforced” to “generate stable profits.” In other words, we may not see new Sonic titles on consoles, but there’s probably a big future for the character on mobile.

The Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive studios for Sega appear to be relatively safe. Sega of Europe told Eurogamer that there will only be “limited” layoffs in that region. In addition to the Total War series, Creative Assembly also released Alien: Isolation this past holiday season.

[Images via Sega]