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Sega's Japan-made games give the company its strongest financials in years

Sonic, Persona, and Like a Dragon are doing especially strong numbers outside Japan, and Sega hopes to capitalize on those properties alongside its Super Game dreams.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

November 2, 2023

3 Min Read
Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles in Sonic Superstars.
Image via Sega.

Sega Sammy's newest financial report shows a decade-best performance across key categories. 

The Japanese company saw strong growth for its Pachinko and Entertainment Contents (read: video games and films) business for 2023. In net sales, Sega Sammy saw ¥389.6 billion (or $2.58 billion) this year, up 21.4 percent from the previous year's ¥320.9 billion.

Similar rises were made in operating income (¥46.7 billion, up 46 percent) and ordinary income (¥49.4 billion, up 48.4 percent).

Sega attributed those increases to the Japanese side of its business, and in particular to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. 2022's Sonic Frontiers was noted as "one of the best games" for the entire series, and last year's Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film "helped accelerate the [brand's] growth."

Similar praise was heaped onto Like a Dragon (née Yakuza). The open-world franchise has sold 21.3 million copies, and executive officer Masayoshi Yokoyama promised the series will grow "through our transmedia strategy."

Finally, Atlus' Persona series (which has sold 17.7 million units) was also highlighted for its "significant" growth throughout the year thanks to Persona 5 Royal's overseas performance. Persona 4 Golden was also highlighted, particularly for its performance with western and European audiences.

Inspired by the transmedia success of Sonic, Sega plans to make it a "key strategy" for expanding its other brands, with co-COO Shuji Utsumi naming Persona and Like a Dragon specifically. 

"By launching the best games at just the right time in tandem with the development of video productions and merchandise," he said, "we can not only grow game sales but also maximize the value of our IP."

Sega is still chasing its Super Game dreams

On the non-Japan side of things, Sega Sammy CEO Haruki Satomi acknowledged its western subsidiaries, saying Europe-based titles "failed to materialize [sales], shedding a light on some issues."

Last month saw the cancellation of Creative Assembly's in-progress (and troubled) shooter Hyenas, which was reportedly one of the parent company's most expensive titles to date.

Hyenas was also believed to be Sega's previously discussed Super Game, but Satomi revealed that project is still in the works. Described as a concept that "stands head and shoulders above normal games," he noted the project is making gradual progress towards releasing by March 2026.

Sega has very high hopes for the Super Game, and at one point said it expected the project to make $600 million in lifetime sales. Satomi previously hoped it would be "so revolutionary that it attracts far more active users" than previous Sega games, and would draw in players, streamers, and avid watchers of the middle group.

"I encourage stakeholders to look forward to the fruit of our efforts," he said, "which include R&D to create a game that builds a whole worldview involving the entire gaming ecosystem, including not only players but also streamers who stream the game and their viewers."

Until the release of the Super Game, Sega's immediate future involves the newly released Sonic Superstars. Towards the end of the year and at the start of 2024 will see the release of upcoming titles Persona 3 Reload, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, and Like a Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Name.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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