Meet the Development Divisions

3rd Development Division


Senior Executive Manager Yuya Kimura

Joined in 2004. Senior Executive Manager of the 3rd Development Division.
Entered the company as a part-time planning assistant of SONICTEAM, Ltd. Gained experience in managing the operations of SEGA's Online Game R&D Department for "Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2)"; now serves as the series producer of "PSO2: New Genesis".

Vice Executive Manager Kazuma Yoshida

Joined in 2011. Vice Executive Manager of the 3rd Development Division.
Entered SEGA Network's Management Department as a mid-career hire. Transferred to SEGA Networks Co., Ltd. Currently serves as the producer of MJ Mobile.

Manager Shinya Matsunami

Joined in 2004. Manager of 3rd Development Division, 3rd Online R&D Department #1.
Developed action games as part of SONICTEAM, Ltd. before moving over to "PSO". As the technical director, manages the programming/engineering team and oversees all technical matters.

At the forefront of developing blockbuster Super Games

SEGA's latest endeavor involves creating Super Games—online-based AAA titles on a global scale.

Development is progressing with these four goals in mind:
1. A multiplatform release
2. Multilingual support for players worldwide
3. A simultaneous worldwide launch
4. A scale on par with other AAA titles.

With their wealth of experience developing and managing different multiplatform titles, The 3rd Development Division is currently spearheading the development of Super Games.

Today, we're joined by Senior Executive Manager Yuya Kimura, Vice Executive Manager Kazuma Yoshida, and Manager Shinya Matsunami to discuss the distinctive qualities of their division and the type of individual that would thrive in it. If you're interested in the gaming industry, please give this interview a read.

An environment where meritocracy trumps tenure

First, could each of you please tell us about your background?


I joined SEGA as a part-timer, spent time as a contract worker, and then transitioned to a full-time employee. Initially, I had no prior experience in the gaming industry. I honed my game development skills while working as a planning assistant here.

At the time, I was in charge of creating expansion quests as part of the Phantasy Star Online Operations Team. I've worked on the "PSO" series for over 20 years, and am now the series producer of "PSO2: New Genesis". Since becoming the senior executive manager of the 3rd Development Division, my duties extend beyond simply making games; I am responsible for monitoring our business activities as a whole.

Do part-time employees often advance to management positions?


SEGA is a meritocracy, in the best sense. If you put in the effort and make the most of every opportunity, starting in a part-time position doesn't limit your potential for advancement. We may be a big company, but we don't have the traditional Japanese career path for new graduates. Over half of the management-level employees in the 3rd Development Division joined us as part-timers or mid-career hires.

Anyone who joins us in the future will be able to adequately advance their career if they apply themselves diligently.

Mr. Yoshida, could you tell us about your background as well?


After graduating university, I spent six years working in management at a Japanese car dealership. Afterwards, my love of online games compelled me to join a gaming company where I remained for six years. It was around that time when SEGA began recruiting for PSO2, and I joined SEGA as the team manager for the GMs (Game Masters).

SEGA eventually transferred me to SEGA Networks, which primarily focused on developing mobile games. After working there for a while, I returned to SEGA where I currently serve as the vice executive manager of the 3rd Development Division, the manager of our Mobile Game Development Team, and the producer of MJ Online.

Could you walk us through your career, Mr. Matsunami?


After graduating university, I wanted to make online games, so I joined SEGA. I started off on the Sonic Team working on action games and eventually switched over to "PSO".

My main duties upon joining SEGA were engineering tasks. Now, as part of the 3rd Development Division, I manage our engineers and oversee all tech matters as the technical director.

The 3rd Development Division's mission to deliver a blockbuster game with a simultaneous global launch

What kind of department is the 3rd Development Division?


The 3rd Development Division produces titles using a GaaS (Games as a Service) model. Conceptually, this means that the game operates as a service. We generate revenue by updating the game on a daily basis as opposed to the number of units sold.

Furthermore, we also provide games to multiple platforms. Our division is unique in that it offers a wide range of career experience, as we work on console, PC, and arcade games, as well as mobile.

We also manage a number of our own titles globally. Our division has a broader range of tasks compared to others within SEGA, due to our work with other regions and platforms. We're one of the few workplaces in Japan that has the infrastructure to develop and run our own cross-platform online game.

Lastly, one big aspect of our division is our work on "Super Games", which is a whole new frontier for us.

Could you explain what "Super Games" are?


"Super Games" are AAA titles with a worldwide release date. We currently have a number of titles in development. Games are typically launched in Japan first. The successful titles would then be localized and released overseas. "Super Games", on the other hand, are developed with a global release in mind, which makes it easier to build communities around them.

Is there really that much of a difference between launching a game globally from the outset compared to localizing an already successful Japanese game?


Yes, games that are released for the Japanese market tend to cater too much to Japanese audiences. In that respect, it's hard to produce a true global hit.

In contrast, a game that is envisioned for a global audience from the get-go requires a much more intricate development process. For instance, gacha—a common feature found in a lot of Japanese games—has been outlawed in many parts of the world.

It's not just the laws either. We have to consider cultural norms, fads, ethics, and regional preferences as well. Creating a globally acclaimed game is significantly more challenging than designing one solely for the Japanese market. Having said that, taking a conservative and risk-averse approach won't result in a fun game. Sometimes we have to push boundaries in order to create something new and innovative.

These difficulties are a one-of-a-kind challenge that only motivates us further.

Continuing to challenge themselves as professionals at the 3rd Development Division

Could you tell us about the team structure of the 3rd Development Division?


We have over 600 staff members, many of whom possess a broad spectrum of skills. Our division has received a significant influx of staff from other departments in order to facilitate development for Super Games, resulting in a particularly diverse workforce.

Even if there's something we don't understand about certain tech or business, we can usually consult with someone in our division and resolve it right away.

In addition, most of our managers are very hands-on and more than happy to lend a helping hand.


One of our traits as a division is that we have many people with a natural sense for marketing. To continuously operate a live-service game, you need to know the market inside out.

That's why we search for game producers who have a good aptitude for marketing.


I believe that our division is especially passionate about game development. Once every six months, we hold a kind of fantasy league for project proposals, where everyone pitches their own ideas.

It helps that we have so many team members who dream of creating their own IP one day. Our division is committed to accommodating our staff and assisting them in bringing their ideas to life.

As you take on new challenges, are there any changes you've noticed?


When we started working from home, one of our third-year staff members suggested we create a virtual office, which we've been testing with some of our team members. We don't disregard good ideas due to tenure or experience. We'd like to be an organization that isn't bound to stuffy conventions.

Some of our GaaS titles have been in service for over a decade, but that doesn't mean we're not constantly adding new features or trying new things with them. The reason our titles continue to endure is that we never stop seeking innovation.

It is a sign that our workplace enables us to thrive and push boundaries.

Welcoming curiosity-driven team members willing to dive into many fields

What kind of qualities does the 3rd Development Division look for?


I'd say someone who can think from a consumer's and a marketer's point of view. To hearken back to what Kimura said, a marketing mindset is a must when making a live-service game. New trends come and go in the blink of an eye. We have no way of predicting what the next big thing will be. Yet we're trying to put out games that will remain popular for the next five to ten years. To achieve that, we know that we can't just chase trends. When we develop games, we also need to read between the lines and understand what our audience truly wants.

It's not just an issue for producers; developers have to consider it too. I hope to find developers who can think of creative ways to enhance the gameplay experience rather than simply follow instructions. People who have prior experience working in mobile or online games will already possess this mindset to some degree.

For such individuals, what would be the allure of working at SEGA?


Part of our appeal is the ample opportunities you'll get to challenge yourself. As a large company, you might think that means things take a long time to get done at SEGA, but that's actually not the case. Colleagues who've made the switch from smaller companies have found that they've been able to execute ideas at a similar pace.

Furthermore, SEGA's extensive resources will help expedite your idea, resulting in a faster implementation phase compared to small- or medium-sized companies. We have the know-how for overseas expansion and the right network of contacts, so we should be able to get the ball rolling for any idea you may have.

As an engineer, what qualities do you look for in a candidate?


Someone who has a thirst for knowledge and is eager to learn. At SEGA, we have some of the most skilled people out there as well as a wide assortment of projects to work on. As such, I can't think of a better place to learn.

This is also why I don't want any of our team members to feel pressured at work. We try to provide a logical and reasonable time frame for you to get all your work done.

In addition, we're an ideal place for engineers who appreciate good communication. We value team-based development. Individuals who prefer collaborating with those around them over staying in their own bubble will be able to thrive in our workplace.

How about you, Mr. Kimura?


I'd like to work with someone who has a strong vision of their career path. I'm talking about the kinds of people who have a clear goal in sight and will put in the effort to achieve it.

Of course, these things take time. We'll assign them to a role where they can make the most of their prior work experience, and work with them to create a road map that will help them gain the experience they need to achieve their future goals. The senior employees would like each staff member to feel comfortable at work, and as such, are willing to accommodate their needs as best as possible.

I understand that very few individuals in the gaming industry in their 20s or 30s will have worked outside of the realm of mobile games. However, for anyone who wants to develop for other platforms or is simply seeking a new challenge, I encourage them to apply to us.

I understand that SEGA is pivoting in a global direction, but will English be required at your work?


No, English isn't essential. However, at SEGA, we have a system that allows staff to take English lessons free of charge, so it's a great environment for anyone wishing to learn English. Of course, even if you don't speak any English at all, we have interpreters on hand who can help if you want to get involved in global projects.

Being able to speak English will open up more avenues, but please don't worry if you don't, because you'll still be able to thrive at SEGA.

Lastly, is there anything you'd like to say to anyone interested in potentially working at SEGA?


At SEGA, especially in the 3rd Development Division, there are plenty of chances for you to push yourself and take on new challenges. We even offer the flexibility to switch projects midway, allowing you to shape your career path as you desire! Only the 3rd Development Division offers the chance to work on mobile, arcade, AND PC games. A big advantage of working with us is that you won't need to change jobs to gain a variety of experience.

Not many companies out there will be able to offer you this kind of dynamic work environment. I highly encourage inquisitively minded people to come speak with us!


We have numerous large-scale projects that require hundreds of staff members, including our Super Games. I can't think of any other company in Japan that would provide the same opportunity of working on games of such magnitude.

Furthermore, one of SEGA's strong points is its career opportunities. If you have the drive and the skills, it's a fantastic place to develop your abilities and build a successful career. Despite the large number of employees at SEGA, there are still plenty of great positions available. As long as you're able to deliver results, you'll find yourself generously rewarded. We value ability and accomplishments over tenure, so you'll be evaluated based on what you bring to the table. I urge you to consider applying if you'd like to be part of a large-scale project!

* This article contains content from an interview conducted in October 2023.