UPDATE: Sega Takes Lukewarm Attitude Toward Community PC Port Campaignby Tristan Oliver January 23, 2014
A Growing Effort Met with Cold Shoulder?
Sega hasn’t been good at a lot of things lately, but one thing they are quite good at is supporting the PC platform with a variety of titles. But it’s not a guarantee these days that an already published console game will see a PC port. One grassroots group is trying to change that. So why does Sega and some staff members appear so cold to the cause?
The official petition was born out of a Twitter campaign ongoing for a few weeks now. It seeks Sega to increase its PC catalog. Titles like Virtua Fighter 5, Bayonetta and Vanquish are cited, mostly because they are considered low-risk for a port, but many of more than 1,200 who have already signed the petition would also like to see other titles come to the system, such as Shenmue. The petition itself seeks 20,000 supporters at this point.
Sega and their community managers know about the campaign, mainly via Twitter. But you wouldn’t know they cared based on some of the responses received through official and personal channels. When one follower of Sega’s official Twitter inquired about the #SegaPCPorts campaign, this was the venue’s official response, written by an unknown person:
@Marower the community team is aware of the movement, but no official comment to be made at this time.
— SEGA (@SEGA) January 19, 2014
Then there is this rather blunt response given by Sega community manager Julian Mehlfeld on his personal Twitter page when inquired at the onset in December, a stark contrast to the engagement others like Sega’s Aaron Webber partake in, even on their personal accounts:
— Julian (@Clumseh) December 29, 2013
UPDATE: You’ll note the above Tweet is from late December. Thanks to Dario FF via Twitter, we also want to present Mehlfeld’s longer, clarifying response to the matter as he wrote on the Sega forums January 5th, attempting to show there may be eyes watching and ears listening after all:
First and most importantly, I need to point out that I’m not in a position to comment on anything you guys are asking for, however I’m happy to discuss the method. I’ll do my part to circulate emails to people within the company so they too are aware, but only if we agree not to tweet / retweet bomb our @sega handle. Here’s why…
Tweet bombing and retweet spamming makes it harder for the community team (me and a few others) who monitor the @sega handle to manage the day to day conversations with people. Right now there’s a lot of customer service response that go out to various people, as well as follow ups to product announcements, or just general replies based on incoming tweets. We reply as much as we can, when we’re not able, be sure that we’re reading everything. We care, it’s a big deal for me and the entire Community team at SEGA to bring customer concerns to people inside the company.
Tweet bombing / retweet spam also does a big disservice to your cause. It creates a good deal of noise, but it doesn’t tell the story you want to tell – people want these games. You want to create a space where there’s a quantifiable interest, individual interest from people who would buy these games. I don’t put too much faith in petitions, but they are a good space to show individual attention towards a cause. It may be more helpful to point to individual games, rather than the whole group, as you might have some who like a particular game, but don’t intend to buy everything.
In my opinion, tweet and retweet your cause, drive towards a petition site or unique sign up site and rally. There’s just not as much need to include @sega in every post. I’ll also end that this may not come of anything, but I want to respond when I can so people at least understand that these things are being read by people in company.
It should be noted things tend to be different when the shoe is on the other foot. Consider when Sega, and in particular Webber, initiated a rallying cry to bring Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F to the West in early 2013. The effort was a social media success, but netted just 16,000 boxed copies sold at retail for the entirety of 2013.
Still, if Sega makes outreach to them difficult except when most convenient to them, why have a community team in the first place? Petition organizer TaroYamada of NeoGAF hopes that with enough strength in numbers, the company will change its tune. We’ll let you know if it does.