Down the Rabbit Hole – Sega Leaves Console Gaming?

OMG, did you guys hear?  No more Sega games except stupid free-to-play smartphone games maybe!  A guy on the internet said it so it must be true!

Sega Officially Over, Tails Cries

Sonic and Tails turn to each other for comfort after having been exposed to sensationalist human journalism.

A smart person would realize that the story is exaggerated, overblown, or just plain fabricated and hold off emotion and judgement until something concrete actually arises.  An idiot just believes whatever they hear.  If you exist somewhere in the middle, you might actually try looking into finding the source of the information.  Down the rabbit hole we go!

“Sega is leaving the console market to focus on PC and mobile” is the rather definitive headline Daily Dot goes with, but they are totally outdone by Technology Tell, which prints, “Sega is officially leaving the console market”.

“Officially.”  Well then presumably Sega said exactly that, right?  Well both articles cite only a Japan Today article that seems to be at the center of this latest internet storm.  Unfortunately, a lot of people who are not Japan watchers do not know that that news site is a total and well-known rag.  If you think the Japan Times gets click-bait-y (and it does), you ain’t seen nothing until you peruse Japan Today.

Japan Today’s source is the fun, but not really a legitimate news website, Rocket News.  Both articles lead with “Fans mourn Sega’s exit from console video game market” though Rocket News more accurately appends “fume over ‘Sega Games’ new name”.  For you see, almost the entire article (that isn’t just going over history) is devoted to translated internet comments about Sega’s name change (it would appear that Sega is splitting into Sega Games [home games], Sega Interactive [arcade games], and Sega Live Enjoyment [other stuff like Joypolis and Orbis]).

This article has only two sources of information.  First, a Yahoo Japan fluff piece all about the name change (“「セガ」社名変更…「これじゃ、セガガだ」批判と懐古話でファン盛り上がる“) from which Rocket News appears to have pulled all of it’s quotes.  And second, itself:

Sega seemingly saying sayonara to consoles as it downsizes, shifts focus to mobile and PC games” is the alliterative title of the Rocket News article Rocket News has pulled its info from.  If you notice, we’ve moved from “officially” leaving consoles to “seemingly” already by this point.  But we’re not done yet, because what is the source for this Rocket News piece?

Well this is where it starts to get really fun.  Their only source is a Wired Japan article, naturally all in Japanese (“セガ、ゲーム機からの転換と人員削減“).  This article turns out to actually be a translation of an English language article from Ars Technica (“Sega cuts hundreds of jobs in PC/mobile-focused restructuring“).  And the Ars Technica source?  Well it is the same old (translated) Sega-Sammy letter to their investors relating the restructuring they’ve decided to take following a board meeting, mainly focusing on their planned job cuts, that came out back in January.  (The Technology Tell article mentioned at the beginning even talks about that letter, referring to the Japan Today article as new information on that topic!  They’re trying to pass off a month of brewing on the internet as actual news, never realizing that the source hasn’t changed one bit.)

The letter itself is all very vague about actual video game things, instead spending its few pages on the job cuts and moving Sega of America’s headquarters to cheaper offices.  The only line approaching console gaming is this:

“As part of these measures, SEGA has positioned Digital Games, centered around smartphone and PC online gaming, as a growth area…”

Apparently, on the internet, “growth area” means “only area.”

So, to sum up the chain from the beginning, we have:

Sega letter to investors,
Ars Technica article,
translation of that article into Japanese for Wired Japan,
Rocket News,
Rocket News citing themselves,
Japan Today,
various technology/gaming news sites that practice literally zero fact-checking, apparently.

It’s like that game, telephone, only here you’re allowed to go back and ask any of the other people in line what the original sentence was, but no one bothers to.  This whole story is really a great illustration of gullibility, and maybe a lesson on being a bit more skeptical of what you read.

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