“Sega did a good job” But “Sales are much lower than expected”
If digital is to be the future of Sega and the reason it continues to thrive and survive as a video game company, then they may have just lost a significant test in that market.
Though Sonic Adventure 2‘s digital re-release has seem incredible success, another independent game that Sega took under its wing for mobile release, Jack Lumber, has not. The founder of Owlchemy Labs, Alex Schwartz, has said as much in an interview with Indie Statik. You may remember that Jack Lumber was the first game to be published by Sega under its Sega Alliance brand.
It turns out that, according to the interview, the brand may be nothing more than a mask for Sega to sell its marketing and production expertise out to third parties. Schwartz explains Owlchemy had total control over the message:
One of our requests was to be 100% in charge of all creative, with sign-off required from us when anything public would be shown about the game. We’re very protective of our brand, and rightfully so.
The strategy and partnership, unfortunately did not pay off. Schwartz said in the interview sales were off expectations, and the partnership has been dissolved as a result, with Owlchemy developing on other Jack Lumber ports without Sega’s help:
SEGA did a good job attempting to market and support Jack Lumber. Right now, our iOS platform sales are much lower than expected.
The TL;DR version: Sega didn’t really do a good job supporting Jack Lumber, and frankly hasn’t done a good job supporting their own games in recent months. Why Sega would want to offer such services when their house isn’t in order is something only they know. That aside, even if deliberately meant as a cash grab when revenue is sorely needed, it doesn’t appear the Sega Alliance initiative is making its mark. That Sega didn’t want to talk to Indie Statik about it may indicate they want the brand to quietly ride into the sunset. No matter what, Sega is not still in a position to experiment, and fans can only hope this is the only necessary way to learn that lesson.