Sega continues mobile push with new investments
February 19, 2015 | 12:27
Sega has announced its continued focus on mobile gaming with investment in three independent game developers located in the US and UK.
While Sega, founded as Service Games, is these days best known for being a Japanese games publishing giant, the company was founded in Hawaii in 1940 by Raymond Lemaire and Richard Stewart. The company shifted to Japan in 1951 to concentrate on exporting coin-operated entertainment to US military bases, and merged with competitor David Rosen's eponymous Rosen Enterprises in 1965 to form Sega. The company became a household name in the 1980s when its range of home games consoles hit the market, and throughout the 90s the company traded blows with Japanese rival Nintendo for a chunk of the home gaming market. Sadly, its competitive days came to a close at the turn of the millennium following poor sales of the Dreamcast - which would prove to be its last mainstream games console. Following that, the company shifted its efforts to developing titles for third-party hardware and acting as a publisher for other studios.
More recently, Sega has been concentrating on the burgeoning mobile gaming market. That is reflected clearly in the company's most recent investments in three companies that specialise in mobile games. The company has confirmed the outright acquisition of Demiurge Studios, a majority shareholding in Ignited Artists, and a 'strategic investment' in Space Ape Games.
Massachusetts-based Demiurge was founded in 2002 and moved into mobile gaming in 2008, finding its biggest success in the licensed Marvel variant of the Puzzle Quest title. San Francisco start-up Ignited Artists, meanwhile, is working on its first game with staff from Activision, Microsoft Game Studios, Nokia, Kixeye, and even Sega itself. Space Ape Games, finally, is based in the UK and will see investor Sega Networks act as a publisher to bring the UK-based company's titles - including upcoming Rival Kingdoms - to the Japanese market.
'We’re constantly evaluating the independent mobile game space for studios that fit our vision of fun, high-quality gameplay experiences,' claimed Haruki Satomi, chief executive at Sega Networks. 'Demiurge underscores our commitment to investing in the West and complements our current roster of US and European mobile studios, including Three Rings and Hardlight. In addition, our strategic investments in Ignited Artists and Space Ape Games solidifies our commitment to publishing quality games across the globe.'
Sega Networks is Sega's wholly-owned mobile-centric arm, best known for Sonic Dash, Crazy Taxi City Rush and Chain Chronicle on smartphone and tablet platforms.