Sega CEO Haruki Satomi Interview on the Company's Future

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by 360, May 5, 2018.

  1. 360


    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Neon
    So thought this new interview with Sega's CEO was super interesting and worthy of discussion.

    On the Sammy merger - which everyone has believed up to this point was a hostile take-over (according to this - it wasn't):

    The mentor: Isao Okawa. The guy as you may remember who gave hundreds of millions of cash and CSK stock to save Sega in the Dreamcast days. He was also the reason why the Dreamcast even happened in the first place (he wanted Sega to go out on a high-note after the failure of the Saturn). So according to this, Haruki Satomi's Father swooped in to save Sega with the blessing of and as a kind gesture to Isao Okawa - who previously wanted Sammy and their then-CEO involved.

    Then we have some interesting comments on Sonic - or more specifically Sonic Mania and Sonic Boom:

    At first, because he said "several years ago" I thought he meant Sonic 2006. But he mentions "30" on Metacritic with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric standing at 32 and thus the only Sonic game scoring that low so he must mean Sonic Boom.

    So it was Sonic that spearheaded the quality-first initiative with Sonic Mania being a prime product of that - and he notes that Mania was ultra-successful, something important that he recognises, and given this is being said at the top of the company it points to a potentially bright future for Mania and similar Sonic-led initiatives. It's a really interesting interview. These are only two particular sections but it ultimately paints a picture of a bright future for Sega. The right guy is absolutely in charge here. He clearly cares, passionately so, and coming off the recent Sega arcade event with all those cool announcements like Shenmue HD it appears he's righting the ship so to speak.

    So thought I'd give you guys a heads up. Sega seems to be in a strong position with big ambitions for Japan and elsewhere. Hope it leads them to immense recovery and success.
  2. itsstillthinking


    Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Dreamcast Website, Sega Saturn Netlink Voip
    Nice find! While iv never been a fan of the Sammy merger as much as the next guy, in order for Sega to survive financially it was in a sense really needed as 2004 was the first time Sega had made a profit since 97
  3. Billy


    RIP Oderus Urungus Member
    Colorado, USA
    Indie games
    Very interesting. It does seem that big business in Japan values keeping power over companies in the hands of friends and family. As opposed to here in the US, where the start and end of the decision seems to be "who can make is more profit?" (Not that I know anything about big business.)

    Also glad to hear confirmation of the success of Mania, and that even the top is paying attention. Gives me real hope for the future of the franchise.
  4. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    I've literally never heard this.
  5. Overlord


    ...did we just switch realities? Moderator
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    "Hostile" in the sense that Sega was the minor partner, and the one that got bought by the other, but yeah the Sammy merger has, all things considered, been nothing but good for both companies. A single holdings entity let the two effectively continue running as their own things, and Sega got much-needed financial stability. Looking back on it, it all makes sense with the above story.
  6. 360


    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Neon
    What Overlord said, essentially. Though it was reported at the time as a hostile take-over as memory serves. Microsoft showed interest and almost bought them, Sega almost merged with Namco but discussions failed and then the business world reported Sammy winning out (perhaps mistakenly given these revelations) with a hostile take-over by Sammy - though evidently the real truth is that it was amicable.

    I mean, check out this article from in 2004:

    It was genuinely reported at the time, in a mass of news outlets, that it was a hostile take-over. These revelations however indicate, importantly, that that is however not the truth.
  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    waiting for you on the beach Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, England
    it's a quipu
    I'm no expert in this field, but I'm pretty sure the "hostile" part comes from the target company not wanting to be acquired.

    Sega were whoring themselves out all over the place at the time.

    I was going to write this all down once, including the failed Bandai merger and lots of statistics from annual reports, but I just didn't find myself caring enough about the topic. That and we can't do graphs on the wiki.
  8. 360


    Light Vision Overdrive Oldbie
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Neon
    I'm supposed to be an expert - given I have a business degree - but I did it so long ago and transitioned in to screenwriting shortly thereafter that my memory/education is hazy now. From what I recall it's business terminology to describe a specific type of acquisition - meaning if business outlets were reporting it as a hostile take-over at the time that genuinely was the type of business acquisition it was even if the Sega execs feel differently whether it be now or even back then. For what it's worth I'd be super interested in a report/document about all this stuff.

    So if you ever did becoming willing to write one I'd love to read it.
  9. Laughingcow


    Resident Edgelord PHD Member
    This has to be one of the few times that a video game executive listening to Metacritic is a good thing.

    Now they need to figure out what the dysfunction is within Sonic Team so we can at least get some 70-ish Modern Sonic games.
  10. Covarr


    Sentient Cash Register Member
    Trapped in my own thoughts.
    Two stageplays, a screenplay, and an album

    If there were other interested companies, it's distinctly possible that one reporter misread the situation and several others sourced him. I don't think that's the case though. Almost everything I've been able to find points to two primary reasons for this label:

    1. Revisionist history and complete guesses by angry fans at the time (there were a LOT of people who didn't want Sega to be bought by Sammy, some because they thought Sammy would ruin Sega and others because they wanted Sega to just die)
    2. Analysts concluding that it was a hostile takeover without enough information, and media outlets reporting analyst guesses as facts.

    These two things, combined with a decade and a half long game of telephone and fuzzy memories can make it really easy to assume the hostile takeover was common knowledge, because it was certainly commonly said. I'm certainly inclined to take an insider's word over unsourced and badly-sourced hearsay.

    Not to mention, a hostile takeover of a company in the midst of such profound flailing as 2004-era Sega just wouldn't be a sensible business decision. If anything, it ought to have seemed like Sammy was just throwing their money away on a company that had just spent the past decade proving itself quite adept at producing unprofitable market failures, especially considering they didn't follow the purchase up with sweeping executive changes.

    As an aside, does anybody else see this as similar to Sega's own buying of Atlus? Both were pretty much out of nowhere, and both proved to be very good for both the buyer and the buyee.
  11. Cooljerk


    NotEqual Tech, Inc - VR & Game Dev Oldbie
    Satomi has been doing an awesome job with sega lately. Great interview.