Sega shot down joint Sony console

In an interview with Sega-16, former head of publisher's US operations recalls that his superiors at Sega of Japan rejected the plan to focus on original work.

Sega's history as a console manufacturer came to an end with the death of the Dreamcast in 2001, but it didn't necessarily have to end that way.

An interview with the former president of Sega of America, Tom Kalinske, who helmed the upstart US division of the company during the mid-1990s, has revealed that he wanted the company to codevelop a game console with Sony--but was denied by higher-ups.

The first discussions of that partnership dated back to the days of the Genesis, Kalinske said. During Sega's development of the Sega CD, "one of our strongest partners in developing for that platform was Sony," he said.

"[T]here was really this wonderful collaborative effort," he said. "We each benefited from each other's work, and I think that's one of the things that has been forgotten in video game industry lore or history: that this very strong bond existed back then between the two companies."

He said he then proposed a joint console, to be developed by Sega and Sony, to the executives at Sega of Japan. Both companies would have expected to lose money initially on the console, he said, but Sega--the more experienced of the two in game development--vetoed the idea.

"Sega said 'Not a chance,'" Kalinske recalled. "Why would it want to share a platform with Sony? Sega would be much better off just developing its own platform."

"Sega knew how to develop software a hell of a lot better than Sony did," he continued. "They were just coming up the learning curve, so we would have benefited much more greatly--at least in my opinion--than Sony would have, at least initially, at least for a year or two. But Sega of Japan didn't want any of that."

More than a decade after the release of the Sega CD, why didn't we hear about the collaboration between Sony and Sega earlier?

"I don't think it ever came up; I don't think I was ever asked by anybody [for an interview]," said Kalinske, who is now the CEO of LeapFrog, which released the educational game handheld Leapster. "I mean, I don't think that's particularly abnormal. In the United States, once you move from one position to another, they don't generally call and ask you about past stuff."

As it turns out, Sony had the last laugh. After the Sega Dreamcast ceased production, Sony's PlayStation 2 eventually became the best-selling console on the planet, with more than 100 million units sold. Sega, however, wasn't the only console-maker that Sony tried to partner with before going out on its own. The company had approached Nintendo to develop a CD-based console, but after a now-infamous falling out between the two companies at the 1991 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony went on to develop its own system, the PlayStation.

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98 comments
Deth_Walkr
Deth_Walkr

I am a big Sega fan. If they had brought out another system I would have bought it before any of the others in a heart beat. I am glad nobody teamed up with anybody way back when or whatever because over the years we see the difference in game style that has been produced by the separate companies. Nintendo goes for the kids. Sega goes for the fans that want revolutinary games. Sony likes making games for the rpg enthusiasts. Fledgling Microsoft went for the army types with the xbox. But, it seems that they are shifting to rpg franchises now with the 360. I would love another Sega system as I believe the truely Sega games are best done on a Sega system e.g Sonic(Which all the other companies have happily snapped up I see). But, such is life. Hmmmm........I think I ain making no sense here and I am probably just being nostalgic. Oh well.

PatLTornado
PatLTornado

I should have known there were going to be some anti-SEGA fanboys here to call me insane. Yes Nintendo is leaving the home console market, because they've already said that Wii is thier last console. I can't wait for TGS though.

wellfeedmonkey
wellfeedmonkey

WolfSkill5544 I bet that SEGA executives are still regretting for not joining with Sony, oh well too bad ....................................Uuuhhh..........HELLO!!!

WolfSkill5544
WolfSkill5544

I bet that SEGA executives are still regretting for not joining with Sony, oh well too bad

boblighte
boblighte

Hm, I guess no one wanted to be friends with Sony. And now Sony is the big bully of the console market. Seriously, why don't Sega and Nintendo just team up already?

SHEATH013
SHEATH013

http://www.sega-16.com/Interview-%20Tom%20Kalinske.htm If any of us had actually read the interview, rather than letting Gamespot spin their view, this whole "debate" would look totally different. Media zenes like Gamespot like to paint Sega as the only oligarchical Japanese company, which is patently false. The Interview actually states (amongst many other things) that it was Kalinske at SOA and Olaf Olafsson's division in Sony (which had no hardware division) that came up with "criteria for what the next optical platform ought to be" together. In other words, Sony did not come up with the PS1 hardware on their own and approach Sega. Sony Imagesoft (NOT Ken Kutaragi) developed SOFTWARE for the SEGA CD, and working closely with Sega of America came up with criteria for the next format (which is undescribed and likely changed over time). This is incredibly ironic on many fronts, if it's true. As Sony fans and the media frequently point to the SEGA CD as the add-on which should not be, and cite it as a reason tens of millions of gamers crossed their arms and refused to buy a Dreamcast (when the Dreamcast was actually selling very well, circa '99-'00). Yet here we have the true origins of the almighty PS1 being in the humble ports and FMV titles of Sony Imagesoft, and not as the brain child of the megalomaniacal Kutaragi. Kalinske also states that SGI came to him first with the hardware which eventually became the N64, and that he alone came up with the ad campaign in the 89-90 era which exploited Nintendo ( it was actually then SOA pres Michal Katz).

SHEATH013
SHEATH013

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

peacenutman
peacenutman

all I have to say is God of War, Shadow of the Coloussus>>>>Sonic

-starter-
-starter-

PatLTornado, Almost all of your points are flawed and make no sense. :| You lose.

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

patLtornado, can i have some of the crack you've scored please? i too would prefer to live in a dreamland of fantasy, baseless speculation and nontruth. I like Dreamcast but puh-lease it was nearly fatal to Sega. and as for Nintendo flunking out of the console market.. i think you've confused them with (fanfare) Sega!! Wii is the only true next-gen console, insofar as it actually innovates and invents! putting another graphic processor doesnt make a next-gen machine thats just hype! You mention cd-i but thats not actually a Nintendo product is it? its Panasonic if memory serves me well, and you talk like no Sega hardware ever failed ... but still, at least Sega didnt team up with Fony. cheesey Sonic songs AND grey games wooHoo !!!

PatLTornado
PatLTornado

As much everybody will hate to hear this: I believe SEGA may have made the right decision back then, it was more of a problem for Nintendo who will soon be leaving the home console market. Think about, alot of people didn't trust Sony back then because Sony Imagesoft just didn't cut it when making good games. Last I heard the SEGA CD turned out to be much better than the sorry arse CDi which Nintendo turned down the offer for a Super CD SNES add for. As for Dreamcast, IT DIDN't NOT FAIL!!!SEGA was going broke at the time, because they hade oversaturated themselves with hardware during the mid 1990s and made bad marketing decsions, with SEGA making Genesis,SEGA CD,32X,Saturn,PicoGame Gear,Nomad it was costing them mad dollars!SEGA could afford anymore hardware,so they had to get Dreamcast out before PS2. This is exactly what Nintendo is doing now with GBA,DS,Gamecube,Wii and probably why they didn't build a true next gen console. Mark my words, I believe SEGA is planning on returning to the home console market soon,they are not cutting as a 3rd party publisher, they have basically been forgotten by U.S. consumers, since the Lindbergh is more powerful than PS3 and is a huge success in Japanese arcades I see a possibly of a new SEGA console a 256-bit one(Lindbergh is 256-bit) coming out the door within the next year. My hope and believe is that this time SEGA would have already learned from it's past and right now is looking at the mistakes made by it's competitors, Yes the PS3 will be indeed Sony's first faliure no matter how expensive,how much hype it has.

iliyun
iliyun

LONG LIVE SEGA !!!!!!!!! umm, strictly as a software company that is .

funky_muzic
funky_muzic

"Like many in this forum, I am a Sega/Sony fan. However, as a consumer, I love the competition offered by multiple industry players. With that said, what I'm about to say may ruffle a few feathers. 1) I also think that an observer from the sidelines will emerge within the next 10 years to reign on top. Sony did it with the PS1. Increasing industry costs act as an entry barrier to the gaming market. Not may players will get off the bench and get into the game therefore, 2) I imagine that a current software or electronics company will try it and succeed. As consumers become more technically savvy, it will take someone who understands console and software components to succeed. You have to be able to efficiently explain your competitive advantage to consumers. 3) The industry now is becoming more stagnant. Less innovation and more-of-the-same thinking paralyzes growth of the industry. This is my biggest gripe about the industry today. Sadly, consumers continue to buy the umpteenth version of Mortal Kombat (used to be one of my favorite series). 4) Simplicity in a complicated life offers peace! Ideas similar to the Wii will demand respect. Fun is the focus. I play games to relax. If I have to remember to double-click the L1 trigger in the middle of a 13-button combo, I'd rather sleep. Just let me swing my arms like a sword to run through an enemy. I might actually get some exercise playing a game or two. 5) Sega will not attempt a return for some time! Sega, a classic victim of stagnation, does have profitable titles (2k Sports, Sonic, etc..). However, it does not possess the start-up talent or resources required in today's gaming market. Also, if Sega wants to do it right, they MUST perform extensive research (focus groups, test markets) to understand the current consumer market. Sadly, this takes years. Well, thanks for listening. I'll stay tuned for responses. " I am a Nintendo (always have been) fan, and I have some responses: 1) As proven by Sega (and about to be validated by Sony) no console maker is invincible. If Nintendo did not have success with handhelds, the GameCube would probably be their last console. I definitely expect some other participants in the console market in the next 10 years...but who? Maybe Dell, Intel, EA, Google, or some partnership between a few of those, or even some media giants looking to branch out, like Comcast, Viacom, Disney, or AT&T. (I love the competition.) 2)Whoever decides to enter the console market will just have to do their research and hire some experienced people. 3)Much of the industry is stagnant, with the major exception being Nintendo with the Wii & the DS. We are already seeing new types of games & new ways of playing old games. 4)The trend will be to make games more immersive and more intuitive. Maybe we'll see some sort of "brain" helmet that reads brain waves. All you have to do is close your eyes and your completely immersed in the game! 5)Sega continues to make good to great games (when is Virtua Cop coming out for the Wii!?) I'm sure they're making money, but if they find that it could be profitable to come out with another console, I wouldn't rule it out. They could team up with Dell or somebody like that. It's definitely fun to speculate. Let me know what you think...

faizali86
faizali86

i hope sony doesnt share the same fate as sega did

skyvader
skyvader

What XAF1 said was part right. Failure of the saturn burned several 3rd parties (EA to name 1) which in turn allowed sony to capitalize on. Oddly enough the saturn continued to succeed in japan and there are lots of excelent titles that were only released there. Bad marketing and decision making as to bringing those titles over here is what made sega fail with the saturn. The dreamcast was their attempt at a comeback and a really good one at that. It wasn't so much lack of 3rd party support for that system as it was the holding off of consumers eager to see what sony had to offer in the ps2. The hype surrounding the ps2 was drowning out the raves of gamers when it came to the dc. They did everything right this time around but the ps2 was just to much to overcome. sega ducked out to soon and I think that had they stayed in the game, they would have inked the deal with MS and we would have had the dreamcast 2 instead of the xbox. You need to remember that sega and MS partnered up for the OS of the dc. In many ways people kept referring to the xbox as the successor to the dreamcast. I have a strong feeling that sega will once again create a console. It is only obvious as to when you want a console to represent the quality of gameplay you are programming, it may as well be one that is made by the same company. that is what made the neogeo such a great (pricey!!!) system. You knew the game at home was a faithful recreation of the arcade. Now lets see sega and snk make a console.....????? PS. We as US gamers should not be bound to the decisions of a market that is not our own.

metroid_dragon
metroid_dragon

Fallout_red "Wow thats shocking, imagine if Sony and Sega had partnerd, they would have destroyed Nintendo and all its consoles and the quality of the games now would have been way higher." I was thinking the complete opposite, due to Sega's and Sony's different strategies, the console would have failed and Nintendo would have dominated. The playstation was hugely succesful, I doubt that the joint console would have been better. Anything that has 2 large companies and neither of them have complete control of the project is doomed to fail. There would be too much arguing over what is best.

XAF1
XAF1

I was once a Sega Fan but let's be honest I have never been hyped on Sony. I could either take them or leave them. Sega's failure was caused by a great deal of bad decision making and ego. Sega reminded me of a person that never had enough self faith to make it to the finish line of the race, which is why Sony won. Also Sega lost proper perspective when it came to consumers and still lacks it today as a company. Sells are driven by consumer desire and Sega always ignored/ignores that fact. It is not often that consumers tell you exactly what they want to buy and when they do you should listen. The Saturn failed because of a lack of software support, video ram/ multiple proccessor useage which was intergrated incorrectly and too soon---lacking proper memory support, etc. yet I love the system. Also Sega refused to release the ram expansion cart here in the US which could have helped the system. The Dreamcast failed because of the fact that most developers/publishers considered Sega to be a risk after the Saturn. Also Sega only did 1 Virtua fighter on the system and they didn't even take the time to do the conversion themselves so it looked like a sloppy job. Sega was blind to what the Dreamcast generation was to become and Sony didn't really fill it. It was Actually MS that made the real leap into the next gen with great visuals/gameplay and on-line stability. Developers stuck/stick with Sony because of security but this generation that stability is just a little bit more costly and adds some risk..

Fallout_red
Fallout_red

Wow thats shocking, imagine if Sony and Sega had partnerd, they would have destroyed Nintendo and all its consoles and the quality of the games now would have been way higher.

metdevthegamer
metdevthegamer

mdotmu said: "I bet most Sony haters here has no brain. First of all, the reason why gaming itself became big was because of the Playstation. The Playstation made the Xbox exist mind you. MS wouldn't have jumped the bandwagon if gaming wasn't big. Same goes for the birth of the Dreamcast and Gamecube. Sony's PS1 set up the bar in gaming, and thus companies followed and Sony still reigned king in the PS2's era." We owe the success of video games to the NES/ Famicom, not the Playstation. Really, if Nintendo didn't jump at the market after the crash, the market would still be dead, and Nintendo wouldn't have gone to Sony and triggered the development of the Playstation. If Nintendo didn't enter the market, there wouldn't be any consoles from Sony, Microsoft, Sega, or even Nintendo. Truly, they set the bar long before the Playstation was out. Well, I'm glad Sega turned down that offer. It's a shame the Dreamcast failed though, it was a great console.

terrabreak13
terrabreak13

SEGA didn't fail because Sony had the better system. SEGA failed because gamers are stupid. Sony had EA exclusively. Come an EA? People soak up everything EA makes wen most of their games are mediocore at best. 2K sports was always better. Square Enix was also exclusive to Sony but I still see MSFT and Nintendo in business so that only moved a couple gamers over but not enough to shut down the other companies. Dreamcast forever!

TraiklinX3
TraiklinX3

sony destroyed segas home console business (well i guess the gameboy did handhelds) whyyyyyyyy the heck would you want to join with the company that put you out of business?!!!!! This was long before the Playstation and Saturn debuted. Sega was acting like Sony is now, They thoughtt heir **** didn't stink, people would buy their system regardless of games & price and they thought they could do no worng with anyone. Then they launched the Saturn and never fully recovered. People REALLY want to blame Sony for the downfall of Sega but the only ones responcable for the downfall of Sega is Sega itself. I barely saw ANY PS2 ads (maybe 2 ads per 3 magazine that was it) and sega was already rolling over and giving up. That's just pathetic, from 99 till the end of 00 they were advertising heavily, then once Sony started advertising the PS2 they just gave up and I rarely saw a Dreamcast ad after that.

lasberry
lasberry

Like many in this forum, I am a Sega/Sony fan. However, as a consumer, I love the competition offered by multiple industry players. With that said, what I'm about to say may ruffle a few feathers. 1) I also think that an observer from the sidelines will emerge within the next 10 years to reign on top. Sony did it with the PS1. Increasing industry costs act as an entry barrier to the gaming market. Not may players will get off the bench and get into the game therefore, 2) I imagine that a current software or electronics company will try it and succeed. As consumers become more technically savvy, it will take someone who understands console and software components to succeed. You have to be able to efficiently explain your competitive advantage to consumers. 3) The industry now is becoming more stagnant. Less innovation and more-of-the-same thinking paralyzes growth of the industry. This is my biggest gripe about the industry today. Sadly, consumers continue to buy the umpteenth version of Mortal Kombat (used to be one of my favorite series). 4) Simplicity in a complicated life offers peace! Ideas similar to the Wii will demand respect. Fun is the focus. I play games to relax. If I have to remember to double-click the L1 trigger in the middle of a 13-button combo, I'd rather sleep. Just let me swing my arms like a sword to run through an enemy. I might actually get some exercise playing a game or two. 5) Sega will not attempt a return for some time! Sega, a classic victim of stagnation, does have profitable titles (2k Sports, Sonic, etc..). However, it does not possess the start-up talent or resources required in today's gaming market. Also, if Sega wants to do it right, they MUST perform extensive research (focus groups, test markets) to understand the current consumer market. Sadly, this takes years. Well, thanks for listening. I'll stay tuned for responses.

insinuendo
insinuendo

It makes you wonder what else their not telling us. I see their using the old "we didn't tell because you didn't ask" line.

KoruKinshi
KoruKinshi

*pays homage and salutes Sega* They were visionaries. It's too bad that Sega of America was horrible with advertising, and Sony threw money at sellers to not promote the Dreamcast. Scared people do hideous things. Oh well. Here's to hoping Sega returns back into the console fray.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

The Sega Saturn was The worse system Sega came out with. It was rushed and was mean to be a 2D system and it was hard to develop for. Sega Genesis and the Dreamcast are much better. PS3 will succeed but they wont conquer like with the PS2.

King_Dodongo
King_Dodongo

EMH88 "Sony is going to die with the PS3. " Agreed they will fail for: 1) Price 2) Launch Titles 3) Warranty 4) Bluray 5) Last One

UltraWoody
UltraWoody

Well... The only system Sega ever made that was anywhere near good was the SATURN. Especially with its cartridge backup and NetLink (remember that). They should have teamed up - they would've been better off today, I'm sure. Support the super powerful, and CHEAPER XBox 360! Down with the overpriced PS3...

rynmls
rynmls

sony is great for decision making, i hope ps3 dont fail them...

granalf
granalf

There is actually a chance that Sony might win the Next-gen war and make $600 the new standard of console price, perhaps in 2 generations. Alot of people are just saying Sony will be destroyed because of the price. You can't base everything on the price. You have to add the games, their promises, and potential of the PS3 into the equation.

black_cat19
black_cat19

Well, I always liked nintendo more than sega, I remember how I always looked at genesis like a snes copy back in the day... Talk about missed opportunities, even though I'm sure sega would have been eaten up by sony if they had teamed up, at least they wouldn't be in the state they are in.

EMH88
EMH88

Sony is going to die with the PS3.

runstalker
runstalker

Dear granalf, quote: "runstalker, did you even read the article? Sony was asked for help in developing a CD based console in both Nintendo's and Sega's console. Know the facts first. You made your self look like a retard." -------- Damn dude, less angst. Learn to interpret exaggeration: read 'rejection' as both deals between the three parties not panning out, one rather succinct and private (Sega), and the other less amicable and more public (Nintendo). Kalinske actually sheds new light--he adds yet another tale of early-to-late '90s Sony driving into the game hardware biz. Propositions going awry with the industry's leading console makers obviously played a role in Sony's decision to push ahead with PS1 and PS2.

HyperMetaDragon
HyperMetaDragon

That's very interesting. Then again, Nintendo tried and they ditched them, so I guess nobody likes Sony.

Pablo620
Pablo620

Once again, Sony is not to be underestimated. Sega did and now look. Leapfrog. Must i say more.

Phylyn5151
Phylyn5151

I knew it! Sony got into the game buisness because nobody would be there freind. Now Sony is everyones enemy. We could have slayed the beast when we had the chance!

jcloverboy
jcloverboy

Right when Sega CD was being devevloped Sega was in great shape with Genesis. I can understand why they didn't want to join with Sony - Sony had no real experience developing home consoles. Sure, it 96 when Sony Playstation was already looking better than Saturn, Sega probably would have loved a chance to rethink that strategy.

gamepunk86
gamepunk86

i likd sega. sega was what made me a gamer back in the day of sonic. i understand sega's view (and nintendo's) of not joining w/ sony. i mean they were a tv and vcr company. they didn't know anything about software. neither company could've forseen what was going to happen. and sony did have problems w/ their consoles (infamous overheating) but they pulled through b/c they brought games that were innovative and good. also third party support was a biggie. sega just made bad business decisions back in the day. i mean, surprising everyone w/ an early console release (even third party publishers) was just a dumb idea. also the dreamcast failed b/c sega never delivered on theri promises (dvd add-on, internet games). i had a genesis (2x), a dreamcast. sega still remains my favorite game company. i just wish they would come out w/ some good games...hmm...hopefully the new sonic!

Angryduck67
Angryduck67

ARGH Sega you fools! I loved Sega before they fell out of the console wars. Sega and Nintendo both had a chance to team with Sony.....but noooooooooooo.....and now those crazies at Sony rule the world!!!!!

superninjahype
superninjahype

the only downfall the dreamcast had from the PS2 was that it came out it alittle too early to take advantage of DVD ROM other than that they had the same graphics (128 bit) there was nothin else wrong with the Dreamcast

juvinwo1
juvinwo1

Sega knows what they are doing, they are not dumb, I support them 100%, and I still think the Dreamcast was a better system than the PS2. SEGA RULES!!!

bulldog7
bulldog7

I knew about the Nintendo thing, but the sega thing with sony is really interesting. talk about missed oportunities!!

regg949
regg949

I understand not wanting to hook up with sony, as far as sega's view, but saying they developed better than sony is one thing, but they made the same mistake as nintendo, third party support, hey they should just live by , if you can't beat em, join em. Just my opinion

den4sir
den4sir

I really think Sega is secretly sitting back and taking notes on everything that's going on. That's what I would do if I have any remote interest in gaming.

LegaiaFanatic17
LegaiaFanatic17

i think that if Sega made a new console that would be backwards compatible with ALL dreamcast games, allowed you to download SMS, Genesis, 32X, CD, and Saturn games, and had about the same quality in graphics as the Wii is turning out and sell it for around $300, Sega could rule the console wars once again. Think about it: Golden Axe, Panzer Dragoon, Sonic, Vectorman, and all of Sega's kick-ass franchises back where they belong. Would be most awesome indeed......i'd be one of the first in line for that console:D.....who else agrees with me?

sensaike
sensaike

gaming would have happen, regardless of what anybody says. somebody would have made something similarly to the ps1 and would have had the succes the ps1 had. how soon that would have happened we cant tell. but most likely we wouldn't be where we are in gaming. ( not saying better nor worse. just unknown...)

SHEATH013
SHEATH013

And the heads roll. Way to go guys, way to not read the article and make "news" out of the one bit you can make Sega look bad with. I suppose in another ten years, if a CEO interview from whoever owns the market then says he offered Sony to make a joint PS3 console and they turned him down, we'll all rock back in our armchairs and laugh at Sony too?

mdotmu
mdotmu

Man, that would've been really nice to see a collaboration between Sony and Sega. Too bad, Sega was just too damn arrogant. I bet most Sony haters here has no brain. First of all, the reason why gaming itself became big was because of the Playstation. The Playstation made the Xbox exist mind you. MS wouldn't have jumped the bandwagon if gaming wasn't big. Same goes for the birth of the Dreamcast and Gamecube. Sony's PS1 set up the bar in gaming, and thus companies followed and Sony still reigned king in the PS2's era. All in all, the fact that we have a console sitting in our living room was undeniably due to the PS1's success. Or else, gaming itself would be a culture that only the geeks would accept.