As CEO of Sega of America in the early 1990s, Tom Kalinske oversaw the company during its glory days, when all eyes in the industry were glued to the titanic struggle for console superiority between the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.
Times have changed, to put it mildly. Kalinske left Sega in 1996 and soon signed up with educational entertainment company LeapFrog, where he remains a vice chairman today. The intervening decades have seen Nintendo’s best days as well as its worst, and the company sits in a distant third place in the current console race. Meanwhile, Sega hasn’t been the same since Kalinske left. The Sega Saturn bombed. The Dreamcast signaled an end to Sega’s days as a first-party hardware maker, and the ensuing decade-plus as a third-party publisher hasn’t been all wine and roses, either.
Tom Kalinske had the right idea for Sega. Only if the company was behind him and his ideas. Where would Sega be today? If you want to read more from that article—–> Gameindustry
Here are a few quotes made by Tom Kalinske-
“It was not inevitable,” Kalinske said. “It could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago. But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years.”
“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.”
“Stupidity,” Kalinske laughed. “They’re hard to kill. You have to really make a lot of mistakes to kill a strong brand. I do think some great brands obviously have been destroyed, Atari being one of them. Why didn’t that survive? I think there’s a lot of bad decision making involved in killing brands like that. I hope Sega isn’t the same thing.”
“I don’t think [Nintendo] should give up hardware or consoles,”