Sega Blames Mario on Low Sonic Game Sales


  • Sonic Superstars struggled against Super Mario Bros. Wonder, impacting sales and overshadowing the game’s launch.
  • Sega executives suggest competition in the same genre hurt sales for Sonic, as Mario Wonder enjoyed better reviews and sales.
  • Despite initial setbacks, Sega remains committed to Sonic Superstars, releasing new content with hopes of long-term success.

Sega executives have suggested that competition with Super Mario Bros. Wonder hurt the sales of Sonic Superstars when it was first released. The latest 2D iteration of the classic franchise, featuring a speedy hedgehog, was launched last year to average reviews and notably poor sales. Sonic Superstars managed to replicate much of the old-school gameplay of the series but seemingly failed to wow critics or fans, and this translated to a disappointing launch.

Shortly after its release in October, it was revealed that Sonic Superstars fell short of Sega’s sales expectations. At the time, Sega appeared to be projecting optimism despite this setback, claiming that it hoped to make up for the initial slump with increased sales during the holiday season. Unfortunately for the publisher, however, this optimism proved premature and sales did not notably improve. Instead, the platformer has continued to struggle, and executives have an explanation why.


Sonic Superstars Hides a 32-Year-Old Easter Egg in Plain Sight

Sonic Superstars includes a very cool Easter egg dangled right in front of players’ faces that longtime Sonic fans might be able to notice.

In a recent Q&A session for investors, Sega executives Makoto Takashi and Nobuaki Yoshii discussed the sales of Sonic Superstars and hinted that it was competition with Super Mario Bros. Wonder that ultimately hurt the title. It’s not clear from the English translation of the transcript who was speaking, but in response to a question about the game, one executive said that launching at the same time as another title from the same genre hurt sales. While not naming any specific games, a strong case can be made that this was a nod to the new Mario title.

Sonic Superstars Struggled Against a Better-Reviewed Game

In contrast to Sonic Superstars, Super Mario Bros. Wonder was one of the highest-rated games of 2023 and enjoyed superb sales. Also featuring 2D platforming with characters beloved by gamers, Mario Wonder was released the same week in October, and it’s easy to see how it could overshadow Sonic and pull gamers away. Sega executives seem to think this was the case.

Of course, it’s important to note that Sega could be overlooking some other important factors. It’s worth remembering that Sega holiday sales were poor in general, hinting at a larger problem for the developer. Further, Sonic was released for all major consoles and the PC, while Mario Wonder was limited to the Switch. This raises questions about how much the Mario title could hurt sales for Sonic on other platforms.

Despite this disappointment, Sega seems to be committed to the game, based on executive statements at the Q&A and recent support for the title. New content is still being released, and Sonic Superstars got another free DLC costume this month. It appears that the publisher wants to turn things around for Sonic and his friends, and they’ll keep pushing to increase sales over the long term for the time being.

sonic superstars

Sonic Superstars

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Inspired by the franchise’s 2D heyday, Sega’s Sonic Superstars is a co-op platformer that features Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, and Amy as playable characters. The game is expected to launch in Fall 2023 on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

October 17, 2023