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Sega Sammy reports year-over-year jump in game sales despite fewer new releases

Sega Sammy credits the performance of its game business to pandemic-driven the stay-at-home orders that defined the last year, but is approaching the next year with caution for the same reason.

Alissa McAloon, Publisher

May 13, 2021

2 Min Read

Sega parent Sega Sammy sold 41.8 million individual video game units during its 2021 financial year, nearly 14 million more than it did during 2020 thanks to a strong showing from back catalog titles and digital sales.

In its financial report for both the quarter and the year ending March 31, 2021, Sega Sammy reports that it, like many other companies, saw growth in its video game business due to pandemic-driven lockdowns all over the world but due to that strong year the company is facing down 2022 with some trepidation.

Looking just at the video game portion of Sega Sammy's Entertainment Contents business, the company reports 135.7 billion yen (~$1.24 billion) in video game sales, including 64.6 billion yen (~$589.9 million) from Japan and 72.4 billion yen (~$661.2 million) overseas, ultimately 10.2 billion yen (~$93.2 million) more than the year prior.

The bulk of those sales seem to come from Sega Sammy's back catalog, with 28.8 billion yen (~$263 million) of that total attributed to repeat titles, while 13.8 billion yen (~$124.2 million) came from new releases. An additional 54.1 billion yen (~$494 million) is attributed to free-to-play games on smartphones and PC.

That's a stronger showing from Sega Sammy's back catalog than years past; during the 2020 financial year, for instance, it only reported around 17.8 billion yen (~$162.6 million) worth of repeat titles sold. Digital was also up year-over-year. During 2020 Sega Sammy said 46 percent of its sales were digital. For 2021, that increased to 63.8 percent.

As mentioned before, all of that boils down to 41.8 million Sega games sold during the year ending March 31, 2021, including 6 million new titles and 35.8 million copies of back catalog titles. On a franchise by franchise basis, that looks like 4.4 million Sonic games, 4 million Total War games, 3.8 million Football Manager games, and 3 million Persona games sold throughout the year.

For the Entertainment Contents business as a whole, which includes Sega Sammy's pandemic-hindered amusement center business as well as forays into toys and animated film, the group reports 217.8 billion yen (~$1.99 billion) in net sales, down 12 percent year-over-year, and operating income of 27.9 billion yen (~$254.8 million), up 71 percent year-over-year.

For the year ahead, Sega Sammy forecasts 140 billion yen worth of video game sales, and expects free-to-play sales to hit 63.5 billion yen and overtake the estimated 55 billion yen for full game sales next year.


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