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Sega studios announces landmark shift to mobile gaming development

The Sega games studio, publisher of the Sonic the Hedgehog games, has revealed plans to hone in on mobile gaming, tasking a whole third of its development team to develop apps for smartphones and tablets.

Sega announced it has no mobile Sonic titles planned

The 2,000-strong studio will adapt to cater to the growing mobile market, shifting its sight away from producing games for consoles, said Hideki Okamura, president Sega’s game unit.

In its latest financial report, the company predicted the proposed shift to mobile gaming will boost sales by 29 per cent, increasing game and product sales to 128.5 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March.

Furthermore, Sega projected its consumer business’ operating profit to triple to 6.6 billion yen annually.

The company, Sega Sammy Holdings, was a video games giant in the early 90s with its Mega Drive system, competing with Japanese competitor Nintendo with Sonic the Hedgehog as the brand mascot.

With the company no longer in the conventional video game hardware market anymore, it is solely dependent on its game releases and the third-party platforms on which they are released.

Okamura said during the annual Tokyo Game Show. “As the new devices have come out and created a market for smartphone applications, we’re putting a lot of resources into that. We’re shifting developers from other areas,” he said.

In the year starting March 2013, Sega sold 8.7 million titles, down considerably from 10.8 the year before - an omen which likely sparked the change in direction.

The gaming landscape has changed considerably since Sega’s hey-day, with a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau, earlier this week announcing that women now make up 52 per cent gamers - with older women especially showing an interest in puzzle and word titles on the mobile platform.

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