FEB. 11, 2014 • In financial disclosures for the nine months ending December 31 Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. reported that its top selling retail games platform was Sega PC games. In addition, the number of PC titles sold versus the same period the previous year grew from 770,000 to 2.3 million units, an increase of 198%. Football Manager 2014, which was released in October, was the best selling PC title at 680,000 units. On console, the best selling title was Sonic Lost World, totaling 640,000 units between Wii U and 3DS systems.
Impact: Sega did have a great run with PC titles in 2013 as the company has invested a great deal in computer game development as of late. Yet much of the coverage hailing the rise of the PC from second to first gaming platform at Sega missed a major contributor: new console introductions. Between April and December of 2012 Sega released 10 PlayStation 3, and six Xbox 360 SKUs. One year later and the number of PS3 SKUs dropped to two, and Xbox 360 SKUs to zero. That’s totally understandable during the introduction of a new console cycle. Sega also took the smart road in not publishing PS4 and Xbox One titles during November and December – waiting to see how well these new systems performed. What is intriguing is that Sega bet heavily on seven PS Vita SKUs during that nine-month period in 2012, and then backed away to only one SKU in 2013. With only 390,000 units sold between those 2012 PS Vita SKUs, we can see the rationale. But in 2013 Sega shifted to four 3DS SKUs selling 550,000 units. Despite the lack of major console releases, the upswing in PC revenue helped lead Sega’s packaged goods segment to see a growth in net sales during these three quarters from ¥26.3 billion ($256.2 million) to ¥28.4 billion ($276.7 million). As much of these PC game sales are taking place in Europe and the U.S., Sega is attracting new audiences beyond Japan. Similarly, the company is using its digital distribution offerings to branch out further into new markets in Asia. Sega’s digital distribution net sales rose to ¥29.7 billion ($289.4 million) from ¥20.5 billion ($199.7 million) for the three quarters ending December 31, thanks to strong mobile titles such as CHAIN CHRONICLE and Puyopuyo!! Quest. Those numbers should grow in 2014 as Sega takes these smartphone games to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. We expect Sega to launch PS4 and Xbox One titles later this year, but the company’s investment in the PC and mobile is definitely paying off.