Why Hatsune Miku Matters for Sega

As I was creating a post yesterday, I realized something odd about my two most used categories. Number one was Phantasy Star (not odd) and number two was Hatsune Miku. While immensely familiar to those in the anime/J-pop/otaku culture, some gamers may be left scratching their heads and wondering: why does this aqua-blue-haired virtual idol matter for Sega as a game company?

 

  1. She’s making Sega money. Sega has fallen on some hard times recently in Japan, and a profitable license like Miku can help ease that blow. If Sega doesn’t have money, how are they supposed to make Shenmue III?
  2. She’s becoming a Sega game character. The recent tie-in with 7th Dragon 2020 and the Sonic/Fei-Yen outfits for Project Diva Extend (not to mention the preorder CD of Miku singing songs from Sega games) are cementing her as a staple in the Sega universe. Don’t be surprised to see some sort of non-music game starring Miku in the future. Personally, I wouldn’t hate the idea of a 2D platformer for PSN/XBLA…
  3. She represents the cool and “in touch” Sega when it comes to licensing. From Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker to the Evangelion Saturn games, Sega has a long history of securing rights to hip and edgy properties in their prime. Hatsune Miku is a recent example of this and helps keep the Sega brand secured as something associated with respectable and unique pop culture.
  4. She’s filling a music game void within Sega’s catalog. Whether intentionally or not, the Project Diva series is filling the void left by the lack of a proper Samba de Amigo or Space Channel 5 title in recent years. This is certainly a good thing, as the Diva games have been quite well received. I’m hoping that with Miku’s increasing popularity in the West, we’ll eventually see some of these titles localized!

The Miku/Sega partnership is not likely something that will last forever. But for right now it is a profitable, fun, and cool arrangement that benefits both Sega and its fans.

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