A significant collection of leaked documents from the 1990s has surfaced, providing valuable insight into Sega’s historical journey and role as a platform holder. Although Microsoft’s FTC court has captured the world’s attention, these Sega documents offer a unique window into the past. It also sheds light on the factors leading to Sega’s departure from the console industry.
Within the leaked trove, there is a particular focus on the Sega Saturn, a console that faced considerable challenges to success, especially in the US market. The collection of documents, which includes internal emails, financial results and E3 plans, paints a picture of the gaming landscape at the time.
One notable email from March 1996, written by former Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinsky, captures Sega’s optimism and competitive spirit at the time.
I just visited 10 retail stores in Tokyo (most in Akihabara); it’s now spring break, so the crowds of teens/college kids are huge. We are killing Sony. In every store, Saturn hardware is sold out, and there are stacks of PlayStation.
In the email, Kalinsky expresses his confidence in Sega’s ability to beat Sony’s recently launched PlayStation console, claiming they would “kill Sony” in the stores.
The retailers commented they can’t compare the true sales rate because Saturn sells out before they can measure accurately. Our interactive displays are better, and our software displays and stocking are far superior.
Despite Sega’s early confidence, the Saturn struggled to gain traction in the market. This setback would cast a shadow over the far superior Dreamcast, which faced an uphill battle to attract a wide audience. Meanwhile, Sony’s PlayStation continued its rise, cementing its position as one of the most successful companies in the video game industry.
Fast forward to the present day, and the video game landscape has changed significantly. Having withdrawn from the console market, Sega has found new opportunities by collaborating with other platform holders. Microsoft even at one point had entertained plans to purchase Sega.
Source: Sega Retro via Kotaku | Image via Fubpit (YouTube)