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E3: Sega To Focus Less On 'Sega Brand,' Highlight Product Instead
E3: Sega To Focus Less On 'Sega Brand,' Highlight Product Instead
June 9, 2011 | By Brandon Sheffield

Mike Hayes, president of Sega West since mid-2009, tells Gamasutra that Sega’s new branding strategy hinges on agnosticism, shifting the Sega brand to the background.

As the company has been increasingly stable over the years, with critically mixed but financially profitable Sonic titles, as well as more core-oriented offerings, this is a different approach. At E3 2011, Gamasutra spoke with Hayes about his vision for the future of the Sega brand.

“Sega has a very interesting history, and it’s been quite a rollercoaster, as we all know,” said Hayes. “Way back in 2003, 2004, when we reinvented ourselves as a software company, what we’ve tried to do is pass a lot of the effort and the communication of branding onto the products themselves, rather than at Sega. And we’ve always considered ourselves as a company that can support a whole variety of brands.”

The company has tried to maintain a mixture of casual and core-focused brands, and everything in between. Of course, most companies have tried that, but with hits like Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games on the one hand, and Bayonetta on the other, Sega seems to actually be accomplishing it.

“What we’ve done as a company is try to be as agnostic as we possibly can,” he says, “so everything’s focused on the brand, rather than Sega as a company.”

While legacy brands and content are important where they fit, and help benefit smaller products and large brands like Sonic, Hays says, that can’t define Sega as a company. Sega’s profits doubled for the fiscal year 2010, showing that while a diminished focus on the Sega brand may irk the hardcore fans, it’s working for the company.

“Definitely our focus is on the product,” he reiterated. “If people like the product and recognize it’s Sega, that’s a bonus. But what we don’t want to do, is just trade on the name Sega, because it’s about the products, not about the name, whatever people may think of that name.”

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Kevin Patterson
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I know that it's not economically feasible in today's game market, but i really miss having a Sega console out there. I was a big fan of the Dreamcast.

Andrew Hopper
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Sega's maintained it strength by flying under the radar under the cover of its branding, supported by Dreamcast/Genesis nostalgia and inoffensively mediocre games. If Sega wants to focus on its product instead of its image, GREAT, but they're going to have to come up with some better products with that strategy.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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What this company needs to do is think MORE of the Sega brand. That's why they've fallen so badly ever since the Dreamcast died. They need to reconnect with the Sega that gave us the Genesis, Saturn and DC. Heck, Sega needs to bring one of these consoles back. We need an old school arcade console in this business.

C'mon, how much would the Genesis hardware cost today? The entire machine could be put onto a single microchip, and you could still pump out extra colors and horsepower to create the ultimate 16-bit videogame system. You could sell it for $99 and make a very nice profit.

Seriously, I'm going to start calling myself an analyst so I can paid to say this stuff.

Cody Scott
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they would sell more at $20 a retro console and still be cost efficient.

Cody Scott
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How about they give the guys who made sonic fan remix and the guys that were working on a streets of rage fan made game jobs, the games those guys made were awesome....and more fun than actual SEGA games.....but instead they received cease and desist emails.