on September 23, 2013 by Blue Odeyssey
With the news of Index Corporation’s financial predicament, the sale of prized asset Atlus – one of the most respected publishers, developers and subsequent localisers of Japanese games – became an inevitability. The buyer on the other hand was less obvious. Is Sega’s acquisition of Atlus a good thing?
So Sega has been announced as the winning bidder for control over Atlus and all associated IP, while not unexpected it is surprising to see Sega Sammy lay down so much mullah after only just completing a restructure which resulted in a significant reduction in video game output; so far the company has released less than 5 boxed titles in 2013. This can be partially explained by Sega’s modern business strategy of increasingly emphasising smaller digital titles over traditional boxed releases but confuses the motivation behind the purchase of Atlus even further. It’s fair to say few of Atlus’s assets lend themselves well to either the mobile or digital bite size format.
After official confirmation Sega released a statement claiming the purchase would allow them to
1. “Gain access to prominent IPs in the home video game software, through which the company can expect to achieve steady flows of revenue.”
2. “Expect further facilitation of revenue growth for the PC Online Game Business and Content Business for Smart Devices operated by SEGA and SEGA Networks Co.,Ltd. by exploiting acquired prominent IPs.”
3. “Maximise the value of acquired IPs by effectively deploying them in the Pachislot and Pachinko machines segment, Amusement Machines Sales and Amusement Center Operations segments.”
So from these statements we can begin to gather a more complete picture as to how Sega intends to glean value from the purchase. First and foremost statement 1 is likely to encourage the most positive commentary as it suggests Sega intends to continue to utilise the properties in the same manner as Index Corporation. This will be a major relief for the company’s fans, the idea of Atlus remaining in its current form with greater resources at its disposal is an attractive proposition indeed, if this is truly how Sega intends to proceed then it can only bode well for future releases.
Statement 2 is slightly more discouraging as it suggests Sega intends to bastardise further IPs to offer additional mobile offerings, this is not necessarily a negative strategic direction but does suggest an increased focus on creating more typically casual based products in the future.
Finally statement 3, now this may be the most influential and genuine reason for the companies’ purchase, with so many recognisable intellectual properties in Japan it’s fair to say this could represent a genuine coup and contribute to the company’s portfolio in the pachinko machine industry.
It will be interesting to see how Sega strategically approaches the management of Atlus, with previous success in the purchase and effective organisation of developers Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive they have a proven track record in cultivating and encouraging creative expansion. That being said, with Sega’s current risk averse approach to worldwide game releases there is potentially a chance we may see very few Atlus inspired titles make it out of Japan in the significant future.