Culture

Sega is restructuring and separating its amusement and video segments

Is there an acquisition on the horizon?

CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Division splits and some role changes have sparked rumors that Sega might be up for acquisition by an industry titan. According to a company announcement, Sega is separating its video gaming and amusement divisions into two wings. On top of that, Toshihiro Nagoshi, who created the Yakuza series, is switching from his previous chief creative officer role to a new position within Sega: creative director.

The changes take effect on April 1. Sega has stated, "Corporate functions and other administrative functions of Sammy Corporation and Sega Group Corporation, our 100 percent consolidated subsidiaries, will be split up and succeeded by the company, respectively."

Restructuring news always sparks theories about layoffs and buyouts. In the case of Sega, people are wondering if its suitor might be none other than Microsoft, which has been on an acquisitive spree as it seeks to expand its Game Pass offering to keep subscribers hooked and prevent them from defecting to other platforms or cloud-gaming services.

Are we about to see an industry-shaking event? — For a while now, there have been rumors that a massive tech player has been eyeing Sega for a buyout. Microsoft's name comes up frequently. One reason is Microsoft swooped in and bought ZeniMax Media recently, taking with it the minds behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls as well as Doom.

A buyout like that, which secures rights to popular creators behind famous games, is bound to unnerve some fans — they might worry about the future of their favorite franchises, creative autonomy, the regularity of releases, and other variables of a winning formula new owners might meddle with. But, we saw that the Bethesda merger didn't really impair the studio's status as a formidable creator. Xbox head Phil Spencer has also attempted to downplay any worries about studio independence. Because no one buying a successful studio wants to mess with the very things that make it successful.

There's history between them — In 2018, Microsoft met with Sega executives, prompting rumors of a potential merger even then. Shortly thereafter, in 2009, Microsoft began offering Sega's Phantasy Star Online 2 via the Microsoft Store, bringing it to a western audience in the process.

For now, rumors about a buyout are just that: rumors. But there are plenty of solid arguments to make as to why a merger will make sense. Fans are unlikely to give up the speculation until either Microsoft or Sega comes out to quash — or confirm — the rumors once and for all.