Sega’s increasing irrelevance “not inevitable”, says former CEO

By Brenna Hillier, Tuesday, 24 February 2015 00:39 GMT

Former Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske has levelled some strong criticism at the one-time market leader’s management.


Sega pulled out of the hardware game after the Dreamcast, and more recently cut back its game development business markedly.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, Kalinske said it didn’t have to end this way.

“It was not inevitable. It could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago,” he said.

“But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years.”

As an example of these decision, Kalinske said that he and Sony executives Mickey Schulhof and Olaf Olafsson hatched a plan to launch a console together. The plan combined Sony’s hardware chops and Sega’s software know-how, and allowed both companies to share the risks and costs between them.

“We went to Sony and they agreed, ‘Great idea.’ Whether we called it Sega-Sony or Sony-Sega, who cared?” he said.

“We go to Sega and the board turned it down, which I thought was the stupidest decision ever made in the history of business. And from that moment on, I didn’t feel they were capable of making the correct decisions in Japan any longer.”

Kalinske isn’t the first to call out Sega’s Japanese leaders; the relationship between the America and Japanese arms of the country seems to have been pretty strained.

Nintendo has also been criticised for its management style, but was clearly much better equipped to survive into the coming generations than its one-time rival.

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