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Sega is one of the biggest known names among console gaming with a large amount of huge hits during the 90’s with its popular titles like Sonic The Hedgehog, Phantasy Star Online, and a number of cult classic hits like Shenmue and Jet Set Radio. Unfortunately, the company took a huge hit in sales after the Dreamcast era and since 1998 haven’t released a console. In recent years though, Sega have focused their market on PC gaming and it has been announced that the company his hit more PC games sales than its console counterpart.
Sega’s latest earnings report reveals the company’s packaged PC sales grew tremendously last year while packaged console game sales crashed just like its console market share. The company’s digital sales are also almost equal to its packaged sales now, but all of these pale in comparison to Sega Sammy Holdings’ pachinko business which is a mechanical arcade game very popular in the East.
It’s been said that the company profited by almost $50 million from its pachinko business in the nine months period the report covered. By comparison, Sega’s “consumer business,” which includes all console, handheld, and PC sales both digital and retail, made only $27 million.
Pachinko for you guys that have no idea of what it is is a gambling machine like slot machine thinly veiled as an arcade game. It looks like a vertical pinball table without flippers. You fire a ball into the machine and watch as it makes its way down to the bottom. If the ball goes into certain holes, you get more balls, which you can use to keep playing and ultimately trade in for prizes in a casino like environment.
Sega’s consumer business however seems to be leaning towards digital and PC with a hug amount of games being sold on the Steam platform. It’s revenues from packaged games now has only a slight edge on digital revenues games and its packaged PC sales grew from 770,000 units last year to 2.27 million, while packaged console sales dropped from 2.73 million to just 1.2 million.
Games like Football Manager, Total War, and Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed are mega hits on the Steam store and Sega seem to be on the up with it’s collection of games. Could this be a turning point for the company that it sees people are still in love with the brand? Could it lead to the development of a new console? Who knows but one thing’s for sure, Sega was a staple part of my gaming diet during the years and I would love to see if they could offer something again to the gaming world. For now, I’ll stick to racing my friends on Sonic Racing and pretending I’m a soccer manager!