The Flower Division wilts
I believe this is what you call “cutting your losses.” Sega has announced that it is shutting down mobile title Sakura Kakumei: Hanasaku Otome-tachi (Sakura Revolution: Hanasaki Maidens). The free-to-play gacha game, which launched in Japan in December of last year — will be switching off its servers on June 30, a pithy six months from release.
“Since service launched, we have worked hard planning and managing events, improving game systems, and so on in efforts to provide better service,” said Sega in an official statement. “But after considering the environment surrounding the game, playability, and future developments, we have unfortunately come to the decision to end service.”
This is a serious blow for developer DelightWorks, publisher Sega, and the Sakura Wars brand. Sakura Revolution was primed to be a long-term, high-end, hobby title — a Fire Emblem Heroes or a Genshin Impact. An ambitious target in a crowded market, and during the holidays of all times. Sega poured an unbelievable amount of money into the title’s development and marketing, and while the official figure is not confirmed, industry analysts believe that the project had an overall budget of ¥3 billion — a bewildering $30 million USD.
Despite being a free-to-play title, Sakura Revolution debuted at an embarrassing number 215 in the mobile game download charts, having barely pulled ¥73 million (roughly $703,000 USD) in revenue — a staggeringly low figure for even the most modest of Japanese mobile titles. Clearly, momentum for the admittedly attractive-looking game did not “kick in,” and Sega has decided to call time on the project.
For Sakura Wars fans, the failure of Sakura Revolution has worrying consequences. In 2020 Sega rebooted the legendary franchise with the flawed but promising Sakura Wars — the first in a series of releases intended to reboot and revitalize the brand, with Sakura Revolution envisioned as the next step. Sega will be hurting hard from this failure, and while the exciting and spirited world of Sakura Wars still has so much to offer, The Flower Division now faces its biggest battle of all: one for its very survival.