Sega announced today that they will be tackling a massive restructuring of their US and European operations. Sega West President Mike Hayes told IndustryGamers that there will be a total of 73 redundancies comprised of 36 in San Francisco and 37 in London. The London branch will now handle traditional retail games, while the remaining San Francisco staff will be focusing solely on downloadable titles.
In a statement to IndustryGamers, Hayes said, “We've been going through the planning process the past 6 months, taking a look at the future of the market and where we think our investments need to be. It's no surprise that the share of digital is growing as an overall part of the video game business, so we decided we have to invest more in that specific area. And notably, we had to get our business groups appropriately sorted to provide the right focus. Traditionally, Sega of America and Sega Europe had been running a dual company where both would look at traditional goods and both would look at the digital side. What we decided to do is to make San Francisco the kind of hub for our digital efforts, and therefore make London the hub for the traditional packaged goods part. I would stress, however, that this is very much administrative reorganization, because clearly we want to be very successful with digital globally. Likewise, we want to continue to be successful with traditional goods. So the reorganization allows us to be much more efficient in terms of our costs, but probably more importantly in the way that we can look at the future business.”
Earlier this year Sega announced that Sonic 4 will be coming as a downloadable title, so they already have projects in the “digital” pipeline. Hayes mentions all the big platforms: XBLA, PSN, Steam, iTunes and others as part of their approach to downloadable titles. He also says to look forward to new IP announcements for downloadable platforms “over the next few months.”
Hayes is also quick to quell worries that tradition games are not forgotten with this new focus. In a statement to 1UP, he said, “the move will not impact Sega's current schedule, nor will it affect the number of traditional retail games it releases.” This segregation of market approaches between branches may be just what Sega needs to streamline their struggling business.