SEGA Want Sonic to be as Popular as Hello Kitty

Sonic the Hedgehog may be a well-known gaming character, but SEGA want his popularity to reach beyond gamers. How do they plan on doing that? With more licensing and merchandise. SEGA’s Jurgen Post, COO of Sega Europe, hopes that one day Sonic will be as iconic as Sanrio’s Hello Kitty.

“Sonic is a well-known character, but we’ve got a lot of room to grow in merchandising,” he told MCV.

“We dream of Hello Kitty. We’re still far off from that but we can see that our profits are growing year on year in the US and Europe [on merchandising].

“We’ve got a licensing team on the ground in the UK who are focusing on that and that team will expand. We’ve got a team in the US and which will also expand. We used to run it all out of Sega of Japan, but having people on the ground is making a big difference.

“We will always do the computer game but the merchandising is a very important aspect to Sonic.”

I guess we now know why this is happening.

Source: MCV UK

RUMOUR: Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Evidence Builds Up

Following the leaked temporary box art (shown above) for Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Nintendo Wii that hit the net last week, more evidence of the game’s existence has appeared in two reports. The first one from French website SEGA-Mag.com on April 14th claims that Spanish voice actor Fabio Tassone who worked on Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games has the new game listed on his online resume, but the only problem is that it’s not there, so if the report is true, then Tassone has since removed it.

The second report is from the print edition of UK trade magazine MCV, which Sonic Wrecks founder ArchangelUK says contains an article about Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games entitled “Will this be the biggest video game of 2012?”. In AAUK’s news story at Sonic Wrecks he reports that MCV’s article features an higher quality version of the logo than the one seen in the temporary box art, which could mean that assets for the game have already been given to some press out there.

MCV also claims to know this new Mario & Sonic game’s current release schedule:

“MCV understands the game could arrive as early as this Christmas.”

The last two games in the series have both released in the holiday season (apart from the DS version of the first game), so it’s kind of expected that this new game would follow suit, but it’s very odd for a major trade magazine like MCV to be speaking about an unannounced game so openly like this. It’s also worth noting that this article is currently nowhere to be seen on MCV’s website. Could SEGA be planning to reveal Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games soon?

Sources: SEGA Mag and Sonic Wrecks

New Brand Director Respects Sonic’s Brand Heritage

SEGA’s new Brand Director for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise David Corless has spoken out to MCV about his visions for the franchise, current marketing strategies and pleasing Sonic fans, new and old. With the 3 titles on the way in the next couple of months, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, Sonic Free Riders and Sonic Colours, Corless feels that Sonic Team has performed well.

“Sonic Team has done an amazing job,” says Sonic’s new brand director David Corless, who took the role this summer. “They have gone back to the original games for inspiration and come back with three games that, so far, we’ve only had positive feedback on.”

Corless goes on to speak about SEGA’s strategy of appealing to the core Sonic fans, while also trying to attract the mainstream audience, something we’ve heard Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka speak about many times before. Corless feels that pleasing the core Sonic fans isn’t too hard, but pleasing both those fans and new ones is a tough job.

“I don’t think Sonic fans are hard to please. There is just a lot of them and they are all hugely passionate and have their own ideas on what the ideal Sonic game should be,” continues Corless.
“The core fans are very vocal and get a lot of attention but we also have a huge, younger fanbase that we need to consider too. So it presents a challenge. It’s hard to please everyone.

Corless wants to assure fans that he and SEGA respect Sonic’s heritage and want to create games that live up to that heritage, while also taking the series forward.

“We want to create games that respect the heritage of the brand whilst also moving it forward.”

Where does our new Brand Director see Sonic in the future?

“Daft Punk put it well – better, faster, stronger,” concludes Corless.

For the full article, head over to MCV.

What do you think of David Corless’s statements? Let us know in the comments.