The last couple of years have not been kind to multinational game developer Sega, but former CEO Tom Kalinske stated in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that years of poor business decisions have hindered Sega’s growth. Kalinske was an executive during the height of Sega’s success, but left the company in 1996.
According to Kalinske, Sega had an opportunity to partner up with Sony in the 90’s but once the proposition was brought to the board they rejected the idea. It was at that moment Kalinske no longer felt that Sega could make the right decisions in favor of the company which subsequently led to his departure.
“One of the key reasons why I left Sega is when we had the opportunity to work with Sony, when [Sony Interactive CEO] Olaf Olafsson, [Sony Corporation of America president and CEO] Mickey Schulhof and I had agreed we were going to do one platform, share the development cost of it, share the probable loss for a couple years on it, but each benefit from the software we could bring to that platform. Of course, in those days, we were much better at software than they were, so I saw this as a huge win. We went to Sony and they agreed, ‘Great idea.’ Whether we called it Sega-Sony or Sony-Sega, who cared? 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.”
Last month, Sega announced the closure of its San Francisco offices that put 300 jobs in jeopardy. Also their latest gaming adventure Sonic Boom was met with tepid reception and has been dubbed the worst launch in the franchises history selling only 490,000 units, since its release last fall. Though Kalinske criticized Sega’s past decisions, he does not believe they will follow in the footsteps of other known companies such as Atari.
These days, Sega is refocusing their efforts to move away from home consoles by pursuing new endeavors in mobile and PC games. Whether or not this new business venture will workout remains to be unseen, but only time will tell if Sega can come out on top.