Mere months after their groundbreaking acquisition of Rovio, Sega has indicated a cooling of their optimism about blockchain gaming, which they had originally taken great interest in.
Sega’s acquisition of Rovio has triggered a wave of speculation about what moves the gaming titan will be taking into mobile. They won’t be the first traditional gaming company to get their foot in the door with mobile of course, but this major acquisition of the Angry Birds developer combined with the news they’ll be withholding their biggest franchises from third-party blockchain gaming projects to avoid “devaluing its content”, according to Bloomberg News, indicates a major about-face from their previous optimism.
Sega co-COO offered a ruthless critique by saying, “What's the point if [the] games are no fun?” And it’s indicative of a general scepticism about how blockchain can be integrated into games while retaining their core appeal as a leisure activity. Although Sega is shelving plans for their own blockchain games and taking some franchises off the table, others such as Virtua Fighter and Three Kingdoms are still available for third-party partnerships.
What's the point if [the] games are no fun?
It’s fair to say that, after an initial flurry of excitement that’s prompted by any new, cool piece of technology across a variety of industries, that there has been a significant cooling on cryptocurrency and allied technologies such as NFTs and yes, the blockchain. In Sega’s case, although it seems they’re still hedging their bets, by withdrawing their most popular franchises – likely including titles such as Yakuza (Ryu Ga Gotoku in Japan) and Sonic the Hedgehog – they’re signalling they intend to wait and see instead of going all-in as many hoped, and some crypto-sceptics feared.
What Rovio represents meanwhile is as firm a foothold as anyone could hope for into the already lucrative and still growing world of mobile gaming, which they helped contribute to making Finland the home of, hence why events such as PGC Helsinki are hosted in the country. While Sega has long-since bowed out of the console wars, and concentrated mainly on software, there’s a whole new avenue open to them that perennial rival Nintendo seems dead-set against pursuing. Rovio has an experienced team, a titanic hit and existing work with Sega already under their belts, add onto that their technological toolkits and you have a recipe for a quick and relatively easy entry into the world of mobile for Sega.