EDIT: Burd bloopers: Do’h!
1. The PAX party was at PAX Prime, not at PAX East.
2. While the Sonic Boom event was hosted by Aaron Webber, many others at SOA were crucial in creating this event – hats off to all of those involved!
3. Ken Balough is a Digital Brand Manager, not a Community Team member; he is however still super cool.

Following the recent spate of redundancies in the wake of SEGA’s re-organisation in which many casualties have included high profile employees such as SoA’s Kate Burning, it has now also been confirmed that the last remaining member of SoE’s community team, Laurie Cooper, has also now left the company.

For sites such as the Sonic Stadium, the community teams play a vital role in being the conduit through which SEGA and the fandom can directly communicate; although not a vital component to the functionality of SEGA itself, the members of these teams over the past years have played pivotal parts in reshaping future Sonic titles, and voicing dissatisfaction when games have not been up to standard. To add to that, several individuals have been the linchpin in the creation of Summer of Sonic and Sonic Boom; two events which have become extremely close to the hearts of the thousands of you guys and girls who have attended. For this, and for their many other trailblazing projects, the community teams at SoA and SoE have been recognised not only within SEGA, but have acted as a template to many other companies within the videogames industry with regards to talking with their passionate fans and communities.

While it is uncertain what the connotations might be in the long run in losing the European arm of the community team altogether, TSS would like to extend our gratitude for the years of service from the SEGA community staff (past and present, American and European), and their ability to go above and beyond the call of duty when usually it was never asked of them.

As tribute, here are some of the community team’s defining achievements over the last six years:

SEGA PAX 2010 Community Event
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Fans at PAX Prime were treated to a night of food and drink, gaming…and Cash Cash even turned up to play some songs!

Alton Towers Sonic Spinball Launch Event

Sonic Spinball Community Adventures – #1 Opening The Ride & AAUK Vs The Machine

Members of the press along with key community members from UK Sonic fansites were invited to ride the Sonic Spinball ride at the Alton Towers theme park before anyone else, along with a beach party to get a hands-on of Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing.
Dreadknux also got to sleep in the Sonic Room!

Summer of Sonic (2008 – Present)
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Although primarily a fan-organised event, the SEGA Community team have in recent become heavily involved in supporting this rapily growing endevour.

Free Stuff Fridays
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If you love merch as much as I do, you’ll love FSF too! The SoA team’s weekly appearance has been a great way to have a little fun on Friday.

E3 Community Event: Sonic Boom
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Spearheaded SoA including members of the community team, Boom proved to be as popular as Summer of Sonic, and will be making a triumphant return at ComicCon this year.

TSS tips our hat to the likes of Kate, Laurie, Kevin, Martin, Rom, Aaron, Kellie and Julian for all of their hard work, and we wish all those who have departed the company all the best in their future endevours; we hope they are all proud of what they have accomplished for our community.

Do you guys have any favourite moments associated with the community teams from the past few years? Let us know along with any messages you want to convey in the comments.

About T-Bird

T-Bird, the seasoned TSS writer has interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. T-Bird is involved in community relations with SEGA and is the stage manager for the Summer of Sonic convention.
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19 Responses to SEGA of Europe Community Team Disbanded

  1. Yeah I have one, although it’s going back a LONG time.

    Back when Sega Europe was called Sega London, around the time that Sonic 2 was coming out. My parents entered me into a competition to win some Sonic prizes (this was when you ‘wrote letters’ to win stuff, not text or twitter). Anyway, I ended up winning the competiton and was sent a bunch of free stuff.

    Included in the bundle was a Sonic pin badge… now that I’m older and collect Sonic pin badges, this pin I got which was the very first one I recieved is different from all the others I own, I’ve also never seen another like it. I suspect it’s a prototpye piece of merch, possibly one the first pieces of Sonic merch ever made.

    Unfortunaely I lost the cover letter that came with it years ago. I have no idea who wrote that letter. But it had to come from what I suspect became the community team that we know today.

    For that, I extend my thanks and gratitude to whoever it was and whoever picked my name out of that old hat.

  2. Kieran 'ENVY' Gates says:

    It really is sad to hear this, I’ve always admired the amount of effort that comes from all of SEGA’s Community teams and to see the SoE team collapse is a real blow. The teams never cease to amaze me at how much time, effort and enthusiasm they put into their pretty laborious jobs. I imagine the job can get tough sometimes but the team continue to excel and go above and beyond what’s expected of them and for that, every one of them should be extremely proud.

    I believe they’ve even been the main influence to SEGA’s new fanbase-connecting attitude. In my memory, 5 or 6 years ago there was very little communication between the fans and the industry, now we have the complete opposite and I’d point the finger of gratitude straight at the Community teams.

    The memory that sticks most with me is the Black Knight Art Contest back in 2008. This was the first time I’d ever seen the teams pull off something huge that directly connected the fanbase with the games and I will never forget receiving the phone call from AAUK (Keven Eva) after a naff day at school to be told I won and subsequently freaking out. It was the first time I’d ever had contact with a SEGA employee and it’s personal communication like this that makes the consumer feel involved and a part of the industry machine.

    I thank everyone at all of SEGA’s Community teams for always being so eager to connect with their fanbase and I hope this is an attitude that continues well into the far future. To all who have left the company, best wishes for the future.

  3. Wait….Kate is gone…Bu–buu–but I just saw her on the FSF vid not long ago….huuuh? Since when has she been gone? *Goes and plays sad music*

    • Jix Hedgehog says:

      Yeah, holy crap! When did that happen? She just joined the crew like 7 months ago ._.

      • Jix Hedgehog says:

        Dang, it wasn’t only Kate :(

        I better take this opportunity to actually visit SoA in San Fran before things get (hopefully not) any worse

  4. Thank you T-Bird for the wonderful retrospect and article.

    This is truly a sad moment for SEGA fans, the company, and even the gaming industry as a whole. The SOE community team was one of the best examples of how corporations can use internet-age resources to bridge the gap between the industry and the consumer, the developer and the fan, in ways never before possible. They were truly pioneers of what I hope will become a common practice within the industry, although the outlook is grim with this major blow to the branch of service.

    I wish Kate Burning, Laurie Cooper, and all the other former and current Community Managers the best. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Condolences to those that lost their job…Although admittedly, I don’t actually know who any of them are. I realize SEGA is also doing this to survive, but it’s still sad to see them go…And I have to wonder if it was a difficult choice to make for SEGA.

    Thanks for all your years of service guys.

  6. Sadly, it seems to me as if SEGA doesn’t _want_ feedback from their fans… after all, the average casual gamer these days just buys games that are big in the media.

    Too bad that they _still_ don’t value fandom as much as they should… like by caring to keep in contact with fans and such.

  7. I can’t believe this. It is like shooting themselves in the foot.
    Community engagement ranks alongside public relations in being one of the most important tools in the marketeers armoury. It provides that vital conduit between the organisation and its public.
    When we set up Kwalee as a brand new company with myself in charge of marketing the first two people I employed were for community and for public relations. As a result we have rapidly created a presence far beyond that of larger and longer established competition.

  8. Probably far too soon to say, but with Sega scaling back because they’re (once again) gushing out money, I wonder how the likes of Boom and SoS are going to fare come next year.

  9. So… what does this mean exactly? D:

  10. that sucks its the same thing with capcom although the events leading up to shinji mikami leaving capcom which to me is very sad the guy to me was a genius even though i do like the way biohazard 4 turned out but biohazard 5 was a major dissapointment i played the demo and it sucked the partner ai was pure crap it kept on stealing my ammo and would heal me when i didn’t need it this just makes me think about “why would i want to work for people that would exploit me simply for profit and then throw me away like some worn out wrag” parrdon the expression but i’ve had multiple jobs although not in the same feild as these guys and its my impression that people don’t care how good you are at you job or how hard you work the suck you in and drain you dry! sorry for that lol!

  11. Sad news indeed.

    Also, Kellie and Kate are two different people. I know some people have been getting the two confused and it has been happening on the SEGA forum too. Kate did not come back.

  12. Elizabeth the Bathog says:

    Awww this is so sad T-T I hope SEGA dont go bankrupt!! <=(

  13. Guys i know this is sad but do you ever heard this fraise that “all good things must come to an end.” They had they good times in the Sega community now its time for them to let go.

  14. SonikkuForever says:

    Wha…WHY? The community team was what made Sega special! No other company treated it’s fans so well. Thanks to the community managers, we knew that Sega thought of us as people, not just consumers or numbers on a spreadsheet. I won a FSF prize once (it was a Team Sonic track jacket used by Aaron Weber for an employee team-building exercise), but the package got buried in Sega HQ for a while and arrived several months late. To apologize, Sega threw in some other Sonic goodies, namely a Super Sonic hat and an awesome Sonic Adventure promo keychain. Another time, I wrote them a fan letter and recieved a hand-typed response from Kate.

    I really hope Sega doesn’t turn into another faceless corporation.

  15. BakingBluePotatoe says:

    The.. community teams are both gone now!? D’=

    That’s… heartbreaking. O_O

  16. GameMaster0097 says:

    This is very sad. I know they did this to reconstruct the company, but they didn’t have to disband the SEGA of Europe Community Team. They could’ve done something else instead. Anyone know what could’ve helped the company instead of doing this.

  17. Even at the official SEGA forums, things are getting mixed up in regards to the recent layoffs. Hopefully we will hear some news from people like Kate, and maybe they were hired in another career. Restructuring is a risky task, and its a shame we lost some of our friends.