In a move that won't surprise many, Sega have sold off its internal sports studio, Visual Concepts. Due to increasing pressure from EA, and their new deal with the NFL and ESPN, it's not something that will surprise people. Indeed, since Sega choose to co publish its ESPN sports range with Take-Two Interactive last year, industry analysts have expected the sale of this studio as just a matter of time.
The main issue for Sega is with EA now owning the ESPN brand; this means the Sega games would not have the instant recognition, which was a big factor in driving its sales. For a company that needs to think about its bottom line much more these days, this could be critical, making the sale very necessary. Fortunately this deal isn't as straightforward as it initially seems. This move may turn out to be beneficial for both Sega and Take-Two with Sega agreeing to distribute their Sports games in the Asian market. Indeed, if anything this seems a strengthening of both companies position in a market that threatens to be over-whelmed. With Take-Two now owning exclusive rights to the American Major League Baseball, competition is going to become seriously heated and with this partnership, both companies may stand a chance beside the behemoth that is EA.