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SEGA to follow Nintendo's Mario model

When it comes to releasing Sonic games.

SEGA exec Alan Pritchard has revealed more about the company's plans to delist less-than-stellar Sonic games - suggesting the publisher may take a leaf out of an old rival's book.

"We've probably been guilty of bringing too many Sonic games to market too quickly," he told Joystiq.

"If you look at Nintendo as a comparison, they have been a little bit more strategic with the way they bring their Mario titles to market. If you look at 2006 to 2008, there were a number of Sonic titles coming to market on various platforms with very little time in-between."

Pritchard went on to describe the Sonic titles released in the last five years as "a real mixed bag", which is a polite way of putting it. He said in the future, SEGA will aim to release only games which score 80 per cent-plus - even though those which are poorly critically received seem to sell well anyway.

"A Sonic game can sell if it's a 60-percent Metacritic game, that's not an issue," he said. "But is that really what the consumer wants? Is that what we should be doing as a publisher and a developer? We should be bringing much higher quality products to market to deliver a better experience for the consumer.

"If Sonic were a Disney franchise or Sonic was a Nintendo franchise, how would they treat Sonic? Sonic, at the end of the day, is 20 years-old next year. Sonic is our crown jewel."

That would explain why, as announced recently, SEGA is planning to delist the rubbisher Sonic titles.

"[The policy will] be tailored to each individual country, and it'll be tailored by retailer. And we'll just approach it on a case-by-case example," said Pritchard.

"Rather than flooding the market with $15 or $20 products at the time when you're bringing out a $50 game, it's just reducing the quantity, making sure those older titles are in a different part of the store."

According to Pritchard, SEGA has "two very exciting, huge announcements" planned for early next year, which will provide "further evidence of how we're looking to improve and enhance our Sonic strategy". Sonic to turn orange? Vector to not be rubbish? Let's just hope it's nothing to do with 3D.