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Are Sega being forgotten?

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Ted909, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Ted909

    Ted909

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    So here's a thing: TV Asahi recently held a viewer poll for Japan's top 100 video games. If we don't count a few Persona titles and Puyo Puyo, both of which originate outside of the company, Sega do not have any representation in the final list whatsoever.

    To an extent, this is not much of a surprise. Sega were never anywhere near the top in the console race there, close calls in the early days of the Saturn aside. Yet not even one showing for Virtua Fighter, or Space Harrier, or any of the other huge arcade hits that made their name in the first place? Arcade games have certainly declined even in the strongholds of Japan, something that is now reflected in the list's heavy bias towards newer console titles, but something else must be wrong when Sega are also no longer notching any mentions in similar overseas lists.

    This opinion piece from IGN Japan attempts to grasp why. It makes several good points: for starters, Sega are not good with consistency. Over the last 30+ years, Sonic is the only work of theirs which has received constant attention, and even then it sat out the Saturn era. Others which they managed to turn into a series, like Virtua Fighter, have only just been revived after years of sudden dormancy. And many more - Burning Rangers, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio - never got the chance to become a long-running, well-remembered franchise to begin with.

    It also could be argued that Sega, at times, focused more on providing gameplay and graphics than characters or stories to connect with audiences across decades/generations; perhaps a result of a prevailing arcade mindset in design. At the same time though, they made the likes of Shenmue and Panzer Dragoon Saga, just to be met with huge losses. I do personally think there's some truth to the theory of their original expertise in arcades not always translating well into everything else, and that it has been the root cause of many of their woes.

    Now it is fair to say that a few "Top ___" lists, limited in scope by their number count, polling sample size, or the arbitrary whims and opinions of their sole author, are not entirely valid barometers of how well an obvious gaming giant is truly remembered among the public. It's also true that in some respects, Sega have been doing slightly better during recent years. However, discussion of this kind of thing is healthy in the long run for our understanding of companies like Sega and their place in history - I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts and theories on this.
     
  2. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    I would count Puyo seeing as Sega has owned it longer than Compile as a company existed.

    But beyond that, in the West at least, people really only know Sonic, so I guess it is understandable, especially when at this point so many people have grown up in a 3rd-Party Sega world. Sega fans of old got divided up between consoles and those who grew up at that time have no attachment to the name most likely because Sega sometimes makes things from old franchises or does nothing with them outright leading to enjoyable and fond memories, but that seems pretty much it.

    As for Japan, Sega was always playing second (or third) fiddle with only the Saturn really making headway, isn't that right? Wasn't Sega best known there for their arcade offerings?
     
  3. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    What do you mean no representation of Sega in the final list? :objection:

    thereheis.PNG

    I wonder, is this necessarily a bad thing? To be frank, the last couple of years in video game journalism were quite a wild ride. There's been scandal and a lot of money spent. Shady monetization, crunch, the video game scene is full of controversy, and I'm having a hard time following the discourse. I'm not sure how's the weather over there, but if Japanese gamers see no point in Sega games in the context of a list like this, then that's fine. :oldbie:

    A bit more recognition would be welcome, though.
     
  4. Black Squirrel

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    These things are less "best games of all time" as much as they are "best games we can think of right now". If you want some fun bedtime reading, go check out the old "best games ever" lists compiled by EGM or GamePro or whatever back in the early 2000s - you'll find games you've never heard of in the top 20, because they were the best thing ever for about six months two decades ago.
     
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  5. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    No they're not.
     
  6. MH MD

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    Yakuza and it's like 14531454 games would like a talk with you, it maintains consistency, quality, and actual memorable cast and engaging story, people would argue it's even the main selling point of the franchise and why people love it

    and no wonder it was so successful in Japan , with only relatively recently they found a worldwide success, i find it weird how its totally absent from this conversation
     
  7. saxman

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    All those things pointed out about Sega are true, and they probably have contributed to the outcome of these lists.

    EDIT: It helps to read more carefully.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  8. Ted909

    Ted909

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    Yeah Yakuza is successful, however the extent to which it is seems to be overplayed sometimes. RGG7/LaD missed out on a spot in the top 20 of Japan's best selling titles in 2020, for instance. I'd love to make a case for it being an exception here, but as it currently stands it is not coming close to the 'place in history'-level that games by the likes of Nintendo, Square Enix, etc have attained over time and continue to. Maybe that will change one day.

    Something I probably should clarify here is that the TV Asahi list that this thread and the recent IGN Japan article ultimately stem from was not the work of a sole biased journalist - 50,000 people voted to reach that result. And as such, there is now a fair bit of discussion going on over there about why Sega appears to have fallen behind, to the point where some are suggesting that the people who voted in it never really knew the company at all.
     
  9. MH MD

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    You also missing the fact that Y7 has a new whole cast and also a new gameplay style, in general when that happens ,the reception in japan aren't favorable , can even lead to some controversies, despite that and apparent "decline" in sales, this is still really good, considering almost all the games in top 20 here are Switch games, which is stupidly popular in japan nowadays, the fact that it even landed in 21 spot is great actually, only 3 games above it are from PS4 which is a dying console in japan, and 2 of them are remakes of beloved old games from PS1 era, while the third is a 1st party game that is set in japan

    The fact that they spawned a new series from Yakuza team "Judgment" that is also selling well and in numbers similar to main yakuza games is a great sign too
     
  10. kitsunebi

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    Although I'm not immersed in the gaming scene whatsoever, I find the results of the poll to be unsurprising. I've lived in Japan for 14 years now, and from what I've seen, Sega has very little brand recognition amongst the elementary/JHS-aged kids I've taught in that time (the oldest of which are now approaching 30.) Maybe 1 out of 10 kids might know who Sonic is, but I've never once seen a Sega character on anyone's clothes or stationery. Nintendo characters are ubiquitous, and these days Fortnite is all the rage with the boys, but many of the kids of Japan may well have never played a Sega game in their lives. More importantly, though, is the fact that even if they have, they're unlikely to know the Sega name. If 1 kid out of 10 knows Sonic (it used to be less, but his recognition level rose a bit with the release of the movie), only 1 out of 50 might know that Sonic is a Sega character.

    So concerning the OP's question of "Is Sega being forgotten?" I see it like this. The people who lived through Sega's years as a hardware developer will still remember them as such, but younger generations born in this millennium will be far less likely to know or care much about Sega's past. So are they being forgotten as a hardware developer? For your average mainstream gamer, it seems very likely. Whether any Sega games show up on lists like this will depend entirely on what they develop in the future, since their past output is mostly only of interest to a hardcore niche of older fans.
     
  11. Gryson

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    I watched the TV Asahi show as it was being broadcast and immediately dismissed it. Not only does it not feature much Sega, it doesn't feature much from ANY of Japan's multitude of acclaimed developers. It's a list populated almost exclusively by Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and a few Nintendo franchises. It would have been far more interesting to limit the list to one title per franchise. As it is, it doesn't really say much about anything aside from the fact that those are the juggernauts of the Japanese gaming industry, and that's never been in doubt.
     
  12. Ashura96

    Ashura96

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    Yeah, first thing I thought of when I saw these lists is how a few franchises have multiple entries. Limit it to one per franchise and things will look radically different.
     
  13. kitsunebi

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    That would be true of any list of "most popular things." If you applied this rule to the top-grossing films, over half of the top 50 "most popular" films of all time would be jettisoned from the list. And then the resulting list would cease to have much meaning, since it wouldn't be representative of anything concrete.

    A reader's (viewer's) poll like this is a popularity contest mostly rooted in the present, and these days, expecting Sega to show up on such a list is unrealistic. But it's also nothing to get upset about. If it was a list created by game journalists of the best/most important games of all time or something similar, then it would be more worrisome if it was nothing but a list of sequels in super-popular series.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
  14. LockOnRommy11

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    The issues here are multiple.

    Firstly, as it’s been mentioned, SEGA are just not a well known brand to generations born after 2000. They’re a niche arcade company in Japan and a bygone giant of gaming elsewhere.

    Additionally, their output over the past 25+ years has not been all that noticeable to your average gamer. As a big MegaDrive fan I can’t really name much of what they’ve done over the last two decades (besides Sonic), other than release some Panzer Dragoon games, football manager games, Total War, Yakuza and Shenmue titles (none of which I have ever played as I didn’t own a Saturn nor Dreamcast like most, and haven’t had the inclination to follow the titles since).

    This itself then leads into the next point. Consider that their last globally successful console was the MegaDrive, which ended its run nearly 30 years ago. The SEGA brand is now remembered mostly as a 16bit powerhouse and they have only endorsed this narrative by releasing wave after wave of compilations, mini consoles and merchandise that only push their (pretty much) dead 16bit IP’s in a way that markets them as purely cheap nostalgia trips rather than substantive gaming experiences. It’s great that some brands have been ‘revived’ with titles like Sonic Mania and Streets of Rage 4, but they’re small in number and not big budget AA titles that people buy consoles for in a world where massive multiplayer large map shooters and exploration games are king. The modern titles that SEGA still release also always late to the trend; Sonic Frontiers looks good, but it would have packed more of a punch five years ago when Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn were showing off truly open world games as a new and exciting concept.

    They’re also terrible at being consistent with marketing and ignorantly prioritise their home market above all else. Many of us in the west have been desperate for some of their Japan-only releases, and most recently I eagerly anticipated their MegaDrive Mini tower and their Game Gear Mini, both of which they decided not to release here. You’d have thought that having a larger market share and brand recognition over in the west might mean that a company focuses their efforts in that region, but not SEGA! Guess you don’t like money, huh?

    Most importantly though are the actual games. I would have thought that at least one of the classic Sonic titles, Streets of Rage 2 and / or Shenmue might have been on the list, but consider this:

    1) Sonic’s greatest title is split into two games and hasn’t been playable since 2011.
    2) Streets of Rage 2 is a top tier game and one of the greatest punch-em-ups of all time, but of a genre would not typically be considered in these types of lists.
    3) Who owned a Dreamcast? Surely the experience also offered by Shenmue has been topped elsewhere since?

    SEGA’s catalogue comprising of older, often arcade-type short blast experiences by their very nature exclude them from these types of lists. In the above top 100 There are a lot of large RPG’s or culturally / industry significant titles, and I don’t think that SEGA games have ever really counted towards that in the grand scheme of things, East or West. They were always great at mastering the form, but not leading.

    Actually, have they mastered the form with any of their titles over the last 15 years? :eyebrow:
     
  15. Gryson

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    You really don't seem to be in touch with modern Sega. They've been chosen as the #1 publisher in the world TWICE in the past five years by Metacritic, and are regularly in the Top 5. Yes, they've evolved into something different than what they were in the 80s and 90s, but they're one of the more successful publishers in Japan.

    https://www.metacritic.com/feature/2021-game-publisher-rankings-summary-table
     
  16. LockOnRommy11

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    I’m not, and I see that as an advantage as I’m coming at it from the angle of the average gamer. Most of the games in that list are well rated, but arguably not mainstream. They’re games that aren’t going to be collectively pushed into a top 100 list by poll, no matter how good they are.
     
  17. Gryson

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    The Yakuza series is massive in Japan and is highly recognizable among average people. I mean, they're even going to make a TV show based on the new Judgment series. Sega also owns Atlus and publishes all of their games. Persona 5 was on the list that is the topic of this thread. Sega is doing great as a publisher, even more so than a lot of the other big Japanese publishers. Based on the fact that you called Sega a "niche arcade company in Japan" indicates to me that you probably aren't knowledgeable enough to evaluate them. Give games like Yakuza, Judgment, Valkyria Chronicles, Sakura Wars, Total War, Company of Heroes, Two Point Hospital, and so on a try and hopefully you'll see Sega is more than just Sonic.
     
  18. LockOnRommy11

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    I own Two-Point hospital, it’s just Theme Hospital. The point is that SEGA’s games aren’t noteworthy enough to be pushed into the top 100 lists. It doesn’t matter that a few of their games are popular in Japan right now; Call of Duty is consistently a game that sells well yearly in the west, but you’d be hard pressed to find any, perhaps besides 4, on any top 100 lists. Popularity doesn’t equal critical acclaim, and, whilst I might have possibly been hasty to call them niche in Japan, I think the evidence speaks for itself, with gamers not putting their offerings on the list. The rest of my points still stand.
     
  19. kitsunebi

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    Disclaimer: I am definitely not "knowledgeable enough to evaluate" Sega as a company or developer, since the Dreamcast is the only Sega system I ever owned, and I've played a grand total of zero Sega games in the last fifteen years (to be fair, I've not played much from anyone else in that time, either.)

    But it seems to me that their financial and or critical success as a company in Japan right this minute is not at all what was being questioned in the opening post. And honestly, it isn't even about whether or not their past successes are being forgotten either. We know their history and we know that they are still a very successful company, but the concern that was raised was why it seemed that Sega was no longer near and dear enough to random average gamers' hearts to make a strong showing on a popularity poll. To me, it seems that what the OP is really bothered by and is trying to assess is whether or not Sega's prestige as a fanclub-worthy brand is diminishing, to which I have to say...yes...kind of.

    The whole reason a forum like this exists isn't because there are are a bunch of fans of Yakuza, a bunch of fans of Sakura Taisen, and a bunch of fans of Sonic who all decide they might as well congregate in one place. It's because people here think of themselves as fans of Sega, the brand. Maybe they grew up owning Sega's hardware (I suspect that's more than a maybe), but for whatever reason, they have a passionate interest in most things related to the company, not just a particular game or series of games. So by using a popularity poll as a basis, it seems to me that the OP is asking, "are the numbers of people who share this passionate loyalty to Sega decreasing?" and the answer is yes, but with the caveat that Sega never did have the same huge numbers of brand-loyal fans in Japan as they do in the West.

    In Japan, the Sega of today is perhaps more akin to an Electronic Arts. They're very successful, and they publish a lot of good/popular games, but you're not going to find a lot of people claiming to be passionate Electronic Arts fans. People might enjoy the games a great deal, but who published them is nothing more than a matter of fact that most people pay little attention to. No, despite their continued great success as a publisher, the "Sega fan" is, I think, a product of the past (especially in Japan), whose numbers will probably only get smaller with the passage of time.
     
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  20. Ted909

    Ted909

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    Yes, the last time Sega were predominantly a "niche arcade company in Japan" was probably the mid 1980s. Particularly unusual to define their current state by arcades too, considering how most of their former empire in the amusement industry has been either sold off or downsized in the past few years. They're still profiting off of UFO Catchers and the like, but since the last decade their return from console efforts has vastly improved.