Despite reports of withdrawal, Sega still exploring Web3 games

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Sega Corporation, the game company behind the hits Sonic the Hedgehog, Yakuza, and Virtua Fighter, has announced that it will exit blockchain-based games despite reports and speculation. It announced plans to release a Web3-based game in the near future.

A Bloomberg report on Friday, citing an interview with Sega co-chief operating officer Shuji Utsumi, said the company “will shelve plans to develop its own game in the genre, at least for the time being.”

However, Utsumi, who worked for the company for nearly 30 years and helped launch the Sega Dreamcast console in the US, said in an email response to a question that the company’s blockchain strategy was misunderstood. said.

As an example, Utsumi cited the development of a new blockchain-based game between Sega and social media platform LINE, which was announced on July 10. It is “very strange” to think that Sega is pulling back from blockchain technology in the light of its deal announcement with Line, he wrote in an email.

Utsumi said the company’s business strategy includes Web3, a new phase of the internet built around decentralized blockchain technology, the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In an interview at the IVS Crypto 2023 conference in Kyoto on June 29, Utsumi said Web3 is one of many technologies the company is considering.

“We’re not trying to be a Web 3 company,” Utsumi says. Rather, Web3 technologies such as blockchain and NFTs are “features” that the company will continue to explore as a way to grow its business and expand its intellectual property (IP) potential, he said.

“That’s why we say we’re Web 2.5,” he added. “2.3 or 2.7 — somewhere in between.”

block investment

He said the company’s strategy is to invest in the Web3 project, which involves licensing its IP for certain game titles to trusted blockchain-based developers to maintain quality standards and meet fan expectations. said to include giving

“Blockchain technology can definitely contribute significantly to the growth of the world. [gaming] We are seriously evaluating the potential by investing in several initiatives, whether we invest in funds as a limited partner or in developers,” Utsumi said. .

He said the strategy was a “transmedia” approach, with specific titles across a variety of platforms including consoles, arcades, PCs, mobile games, collectibles, movies, music, and now self-made game platforms. added that it involves building a as roblox.

“Theoretically, NFTs could be a medium to connect these various transmedia activities,” Utsumi said. “I wish we could use blockchain to connect with our fans, but we still don’t know how. We’re still learning.”

One example of Sega’s transmedia approach is the IP licensing agreement between Sega, blockchain game developer Double Jump Tokyo, and decentralized blockchain gaming platform Oasys. The three companies are working together to develop arcade titles for Sega. Sangokushi Taisen — Three Kingdoms — into a blockchain-based game.

First released by Sega in 2005, this mix of digital and physical collectibles is based on China’s historical warfare, Three Kingdoms. The gameplay allows two players to battle based on the strength of the cards in their decks. A huge hit in arcades across Japan and Asia, the franchise has reportedly sold over 500 million physical cards used in its games.

“The business we are doing now is similar to the process behind Sangokushi,” Utsumi said. The company plans to select popular titles in Asia, such as arcade franchises. In markets where gamers are, Utsumi said, they tend to view the inclusion of blockchain technology in their favorite titles as “a form of entertainment” rather than “evil.” It can be perceived as Western.

So while there is accuracy in reporting about franchises such as: Sonic the hedgehog Western markets will still take some time before familiar companies are incorporated into the blockchain, but Sega will remain in what Utsumi called “exploration mode,” working on Web3 games that may become popular elsewhere. I’m looking for

“We try not to offend people, but ultimately, technically, blockchain will be very helpful in really improving the gamer experience,” Utsumi said.

“But we also understand the sentiments of Western gamers, so we are trying to figure out what is the best way to do this kind of work by targeting the Asian market first. increase.”

On Monday, Sega announced that Line Next Inc, the NFT-focused branch of Tokyo-based social media platform Line Corp., will develop “one of Sega’s very popular gaming IP” into a Web3 game. announced an IP licensing agreement with . The IP in question has not yet been confirmed.

Sega, part of the publicly traded Sega Sammy Holdings Group, has a market capitalization of US$4.55 billion and reported annual revenue of US$2.68 billion in 2022, down from US$2.7 billion a year earlier. there is The stock has risen 25% over the past 12 months.

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