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Sonic online perspectives for growth

Sonic Online – Perspectives for Growth

The online appeal of SEGAS’ much beloved mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog can be seen in the massive availability of flash games, cheats, tutorials etc. online. Sonic online has in fact become a source of revenue for many open-source based spin-offs. In addition, rather than decrease sales of the official SEGA released games, Sonic Online has created a growing “engine of interest.” The brand has engendered itself into popular culture. For example, not only is Sonic the most recognizable game character in the world, but there have been countless references in daily life. Sonic was the first video game character to feature in the famous Macy’s Day Parade. He joined Mario and Link in the now well known “Walk of Game” in 2005. His name has even filtered into science. As studies into entomological development has had researchers called one of their recent discoveries the “Sonic Hedgehog” gene. Voted the most popular video game character in 2008 in the UK, Sonic continues to thumb his nose at his original enemy, Nintendo’s Mario.

What makes Sonic Online so applicable and popular? Its accessibility and general appeal to a younger group of gamers is certainly one of the first reasons. The second is the endless amount of downloadable Sonic Flash games available online. The thing that makes them user-friendly and appealing to a larger audience is the clean, goal oriented MO of the game. A new generation of parents may have come to terms with the fact that children can spend time gaming and still grow up healthy, but the challenge has become to find games that are age and culture appropriate. Sonic Online provides short, simple gaming that is low in bandwidth and presents a simple, non-violent story line. The additional availability of comic books and television programs engenders the 15 year old character with healthy, basic values. Sonic himself is a sensitive, although sometimes impatient hero who fights evil and injustice wherever he finds it, often saving the world.

Those who have dabbled with the creation of Flash games will be quite familiar with the simplicity of the platform. This encourages budding young programmers to try their hand at the complicated art of game development in a fairly open environment. Their creations can be released and beta tested by fans to iron out the creases. These constant additions to Sonic Online have provided for some interesting gaming by fans. For example, the Sonic in Mario land Flash game is probably one of the most played Sonic games online. The appeal to both SEGA and Nintendo fans has shown that the versatility of the character is part of his broad appeal.

There is a chance that at some point SEGA might need to bring in a new mascot. But as long as Sonic exists online, there is little doubt that constant updates, new flash games and additional plot devices will be added, possibly for another two decades and beyond. The character already has retro appeal in the fact that the original Sonic 1 game has been downloaded, copied and played more regularly than any other recorded game.

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