SEGA Removing “Poor” and “Average” Sonic Titles From Retail

Who saw this one coming?

In an unprecedented move that will surely leave a few people scratching their heads, SEGA told MCV today that they will no longer be selling Sonic games that receive “poor or average” Metacritic scores at retail.  So… basically… every game released in the last decade?  *rimshot*

I wish that were me making a joke, but it legitimately looks like every Sonic game we’ve seen recently will be vanishing from store shelves.  SEGA’s SVP of EMEA Jurgen Post said the following:

We have to do this and increase the value of the brand. This will be very important when more big Sonic releases arrive in the future.

We could make a lot of money on back-catalogue Sonic titles, but let’s keep the number of Sonic games available under control. Otherwise you can have cannibalisation. If there are ten Sonic games on the shelves, with people seeing Sonic Rush DS or Sonic Rush Adventure, this may not help our overall strategy.

Out of all the crap released in Sonic’s recent memory, the Rush games have been critical highlights and fan favorites.  The Metacritic average for Sonic Rush is 82.  Last time I checked, 82 is a damn fine score.  Why single these two games out?  There are way worse Sonic games to make examples of.  If Sonic Rush is cited as “average,” it looks like everything will be disappearing.

With this news, what does that mean for recent critical bombs, like Sonic Adventure for XBLA and PSN?  Will they be going away soon as well?  We will keep tabs on this situation as it moves forward.

For now, SEGA’s plan is to appeal to the core fanbase from the 90s and the young crowd with their upcoming holiday release schedule while curtailing the sheer amount of Sonic games available.

“Colours will play well to our younger Sonic fanbase, but should also appeal to the older fans once they realise there are no unwanted surprises,” added brand director David Corless.

“It’s the first console title for a while that’s clearly influenced by Sonic’s platform past but also keeps the series moving forward with new ideas and innovations that complement that legacy. Sonic 4 on the other hand is old school and primarily for those core fans who remember the originals. But there are also a number of younger gamers who’ve recently discovered the classics on the iPhone or XBLA, PSN and WiiWare so it’ll appeal to them as well.”

So, they’re making games targeted at specific audiences that should appeal to both audiences.  Yeah.

Original Story: MCV

EDIT: The guys at NeoGAF have made a list of the games that will remain on store shelves.  Keep in mind that this is speculation at the moment:

OK, just looking through metacritic, these games are being pulled (current gen only):
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006
Sonic Unleashed
Sonic and the Black Knight
Sonic Classic Collection DS
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Sonic and the Secret Rings
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Sonic Rivals
Sonic Rivals 2

and these are staying:
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Sonic Rush
Sonic Rush Adventure
Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection

Thread here.