SEGA has removed Sonic games with average Metacritic scores from shop shelves to combat franchise fatigue.
"Any Sonic game with an average Metacritic has been de-listed," SEGA's SVP of EMEA Jurgen Post told MCV.
"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."
SEGA's set to release three Sonic games in the coming months: downloadable title Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (the iPhone version's out now), Nintendo platforms exclusive Sonic Colours and Kinect racing game Sonic Free Riders.
Post continued: "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."
In August Sonic Team's Takashi Iizuka told Eurogamer making both old and new fans happy with a single game is virtually impossible.
Episode 1 is intended to rekindle the classic 2D gameplay fans fondly remember from the blue hedgehog's glory years on the Mega Drive. And Sonic Colours, which plays like the daytime stages from 2008's panned Sonic Unleashed, is designed for fans of Sonic's 3D outings.
SEGA's 3D Sonic games have come in for stinging criticism from veteran Sonic fans in recent years. Sonic Unleashed disappointed many upon its 2008 release. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions managed a paltry 4/10 in Eurogamer's review. The Wii version was better, though.
The 3D woe continued last year with Wii-exclusive Sonic and the Black Knight, which suffered the same fate as Unleashed.