Sega joins ‘gamer’s gateway’

Sega of America recently called 235 of its Irvine employees back to the office after nearly three years of remote work.

Chief Operating Officer Ian Curran expects they’ll be pleasantly surprised.

After all, they were headed to brand-new workspaces at Innovation Office Park, where Sega is leasing a 31,600-square-foot space with oversize electric roll-up doors and an airy Kinetic fitness center. Across a sunny courtyard, the new Olive Grove Cafe serves treats including acai bowls, ahi tuna poke and pesto chicken ciabattas.

“It’s appealing and inviting, and a great creative space,” Curran says.

A ‘gamer’s gateway’

Sega is the latest of a half-dozen video game firms to move into the new office park, composed of seven low-rise buildings on 73 acres near I-5. Others include Frost Giant Studios, Twitch Interactive, Postcard Game Studio and Notorious Studios.

So many video game firms now have operations in Spectrum District that the Orange County Business Journal recently dubbed the area “gamer’s gateway.” Blizzard Entertainment, Bandai Namco Holdings and Ready at Dawn Studios have their U.S. headquarters within a few miles of the new office park.

Innovation Office Park campus

The growing hub bodes well for Irvine’s economy. The global video game industry is worth close to $200 billion a year. In a trend accelerated by the pandemic, video games have outstripped all other forms of entertainment, Curran says, adding, “Whole families are playing together, and people are using games to keep in touch.”

Vixie Kinoshita takes a selfie with Sega character Teddie.

A fun and productive environment

Sega Corp., based in Tokyo and founded in 1960, is an industry leader, thanks to hits like the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It moved its U.S. headquarters to Irvine from San Francisco in 2015.

“Irvine is a young, vibrant city and a great area to attract talent,” Curran says.

Sega of America’s rapid recent growth helped inspire the search for larger offices. Curran predicts that the new office park’s attractions will improve productivity by making it easier – and more fun – to brainstorm face-to-face.

“One of our key values is to focus on the fun,” he says, “and this place is great from a social connections point of view.”