Nintendo nose-dived. Capcom cratered. The Japanese gaming industry seems to be doing its best impression of a horror movie right now, and the mere mention of Sega already has us hiding behind our couch, cringing in anticipation. So then, what are we waiting for? Here comes the carnage…!
Huh? A profit?
As it turns out, Sega has once again done what Nintendidn’t: turned a profit.
In its quarterly results, the house that Sonic built reported a 7 billion yen ($80.8 million) profit for the period that ended on June 30. During the same quarter last year, Sega’s stockholders likely shouted “abandon ship!” and leaped out of nearby windows after hearing about the company’s 10.3 billion yen ($118.9 million) loss.
Sales, meanwhile, hitched a ride on the updraft, rising 51 percent year-over-year to 91.3 billion yen ($1.05 billion).
It must be noted, however, that most of Sega’s shocking success can be chalked up to its pachinko and pachislot business, which contributed 48.9 billion of the company’s 91.3 billion yen revenue. Iron Man 2 and Alpha Protocol – for all their cybernetic super-suit/sneaky spy prowess – were barely even visible in the shadow of a game about tiny silver balls.
Alpha Protocol, after taking a beating at the hands of many critics, staggered onward to sell a total of 700K units globally. Iron Man 2, meanwhile, made a slightly larger splash with 1.12 million units sold globally.
Total game sales broke down as follows: 1.68 million games in the US, 1.33 million in Europe, and a mere 270K copies in Japan and other regions.
So, if nothing else, we can extract one universal truth from all this: Times and tastes may change, but Japanese people will always, always, always love pachinko. And we, sadly, will never, never, never understand why.