Sonic the Hedgehog owner Sega Yakuza can bring Persona to the big screen

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Still from Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”.

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After Sega’s big adaptation of its classic game franchise Sonic the Hedgehog on the big screen, the company suggested that it wanted to reproduce that success with other entertaining video games in its arsenal.

Speaking to CNBC at the Web Summit tech conference in Libson, Portugal, on Tuesday, Sega Chief Operating Officer Shuji Utsumi said the company is thinking about bringing more of its lucrative intellectual property to platforms. others, including movies and the Roblox gaming platform.

“Sonic is reviving,” Utsumi told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal, referring to the success of Sonic the Hedgehog adaptations at the box office.

Sonic the Hedgehog ended up grossing $306.8 million at the box office, becoming a huge hit for the franchise even after an angry backlash from fans against a poor portrayal of the iconic character when Sega first introduced it to the t -world.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 did even better, banking $405.4 million at the box office.

After the success of 'Sonic The Hedgehog', Sega wants to revive more classics

Now, Sega is looking to translate that success into other game adaptations. That may not just mean movies, Utsumi warned, adding that the company is looking at other ways to bring its IP to more consumers.

That could include bringing the Sonic experience to the Roblox gaming platform, where millions of people gather to build games and connect with each other in massive online communities, as well as mobile, too.

The company recently closed its purchase of Rovio, the maker of the mobile game Angry Birds, for 706 million euros ($767.9 million).

“We have other major IPs,” Utsumi said. “We’re thinking about reviving other classic IPs as well.”

Bringing Yakuza and Persona to more platforms

Utsumi pointed to the hit ’em up game Yakuza and the Persona role-playing game franchise as examples that could be adapted.

It comes as Sega is set to launch a new Yakuza game, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, next year. The company is also launching two new Persona games in 2024, too.

“As I say, we’re trying to be in a lot of different categories, different areas like Roblox, movies,” Utsumi said. “All of these IPs can be somewhere other than games in the near future.”

Sega plans to push up mobile games

Sega recently launched the latest version of their Yakuza game. Collectively, the Yakuza game series has sold 21.1 million units since its inception in 2005, according to Sega. Persona 5, the last game in the franchise, has also been a huge success selling over 9 million copies worldwide.

Yakuza is currently only available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC. Platforms. Persona is currently only available on Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Buying more studios

Sega is also looking for more profits as it tries to expand its ownership of game studios, Utsumi said.

Utsumi suggested that the company would look to find more acquisition targets as market opportunities arise.

“As a group of Sega Sammy, we are buying some of the companies. We have just published an announcement [to buy Rovio]. We are still looking for opportunities to grow.”

Utsumi said European game studios are currently “struggling” as they work to overcome the sales slump that followed the Covid-19 pandemic, as players emerged from lockdowns across the world and high inflation made people less willing to pay punchy prices. the latest titles.

“Japanese studios are doing well. European studios are struggling,” said Utsumi. “I say that all European developers are in a difficult time right now. Once, it was a kind of bubble. Now, it is a time of change.”

However, he struck an optimistic note for the future: “I think it’s going to come back. As long as you have a strong development studio and also strong IPs.”

Sega is not the first company looking to replicate the success of entertainment franchises on other forms of media. Sony, Sega’s main Japanese game competitor, made a big splash with their Spider-Man movie franchise, which the company adapted into several major video games.

A Microsoft deal is not on the cards

Utsumi also addressed rumors of Microsoft’s interest in buying the company.

The Redmond, Washington tech giant reportedly considered buying Sega as well as Bungie, the studio originally responsible for Halo, the Verge reported earlier this year, citing internal documents from a hearing in the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that sought to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The head of Sega’s operations dismissed the suggestion that Sega, which owns Sega Sammy Corporation, the company created from the merger of Sega and Sammy Corporation in 2004, intended to sell it to another party.

“Many companies are interested. We feel honored,” Utsumi told CNBC.

“We have attractive IPs and capabilities. Owner-owned companies. Strong owner. I don’t think that kind of transaction is going to happen.”

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