Sega Sales Fall as Game Releases Dry Out

Football Manager remains key performer; Publisher wants to prioritise quality on smartphones.

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Sonic the Hedgehog publisher Sega has detailed its financial results for the nine-month period spanning April to December 2015. While the company's operating profit has shown an increase, overall sales have declined.

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For the 2015 period it reported sales of ¥245 billion ($2.9 billion), which is an eight percent decline compared to the same nine-months in 2015. Operating profit, however, was ¥12 billion ($103 million), an increase of 11 percent over 2014.

In its statement, Sega noted the "gradual recovery of the overall Japanese economy continued, despite a lackluster performance in certain respects." Although consumption levels haven't fallen, the company said attention should be paid to the pressures on the Japanese economy.

Updates for games such as Phantasy Star Online 2, Chain Chronicle - Kizuna no Shintairuku, and Puyopuyo! Quest have helped sales remain "robust."

Increased advertising expenses were given to Football Manager Online, which is only available in asian markets for PC and smart devices, partly because other games were not performing as well as the soccer team management sim.

Psychical sales of Football Manager were lower than the same period in 2015, despite the launch of Football Manager 2016.

Sega said the market for digital games for smart devices continues to grow at a "moderate pace" in Japan. As smartphones spread, the competition intensifies, so Sega expects it will invest in "higher-quality content" and as a result will see a trend of "longer development lead times."

Looking forward, Sega said it expects its packaged game business to grow in Japan. Despite the "persisting harsh market environment," it is seeing demand grow in line with the penetration of new-generation hardware. It will implement large-scale updates for Phantasy Star Online 2 and Chain Chronicles.

The next major video game Sega is set to publish is Persona 5. The game and it's release date were not mentioned in the financial reports. Persona 5 was originally announced as a PS3 game back in 2013. It was then confirmed for release on PS4.

Although it was expected to launch in 2015, in September a delay was announced, with developer Atlus saying it would now arrive in summer 2016.

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