Sega Sammy Group has released its 2023 integrated report, highlighting its game releases, share prices and initiatives through the last financial year, April 2022 to March 2023.
Business as usual, therefore, but, most interestingly on the mobile side, the report gives thrilling insight into future ambitions that may capitalise on Sega’s Rovio acquisition.
As an employer, Sega Sammy Group has offices worldwide with approximately 2,100 development employees in Japan and Asia, 1,300 in Europe and 400 in the US, working on games for console, PC, mobile and even arcades.
The report notes that one of Sega’s key goals for the rest of the decade is increasing its presence "in the global mobile domain". The aim is to do this while simultaneously scaling up existing IPs, with Sega flagship Sonic the Hedgehog series having already amassed over 1.66 billion unit sales and downloads across its multiplatform catalogue.
Before Sega’s acquisition of Rovio, Sega’s mobile revenue made up less than a third of its total consumer earnings, accounting for roughly 30% and predominantly from the Japanese market. After the acquisition, Sega plans to make more mobile games for Japan and to expand its worldwide footprint with global releases, though it is currently unclear if certain titles will be Japan exclusives.
Among Sega’s big mobile gaming advocates is Haruki Satomi, Sega Sammy Group COO and president since 2017. "In 2012, I started up Sega Networks, a business company specialising in smartphone games," he stated in the report.
"In those days of the flip phone, mobile games still felt like a completely different industry, and not many employees were interested in their development. But I went around to Sega employees pitching the advanced performance of smartphones, which were already becoming more widespread overseas before they reached Japan, and emphasised the future potential of smartphone games."
An acquisition in utility
It appears Satomi’s hopes could now come to full fruition, with the acquisition of Rovio, bringing the world-famous Angry Birds series in-line with Sega’s properties. There are also plans to strengthen Sega’s existing brands through mobile games, with series like Sonic, Persona 5 and Total War highlighted as potential options for the handheld treatment - or otherwise new toys and animations. Plans to expand global brands are expected to be in place sometime during financial year 2024.
The report even teases a "Rovio x Sega" mobile game, leveraging Rovio’s mobile experience across eight studios in Finland, Sweden and Canada. Combined, Rovio achieved an average of 6.7 million daily active users in its games last year, with a total 5 billion downloads having taken place.
"Rovio has particular strengths in the mobile games field, where it is positioned to compete in the growing global market. We believe Rovio is the ideal partner to fill in the missing pieces in our quest to achieve further growth for the Group," the report reinforced.
Sega's report also goes in-depth on changes to share prices and its console releases over the past year.
With five of Rovio's games have made over €100 million each, the potential the developer could bring to a well-established Sega IP is huge. Rovio's operating profit increased 3.8% in Q3 2023 from Q3 2022 to $13.2 million.