SEGA thought it could easily beat PlayStation in the 90s, new documents reveal
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Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games, TMS Entertainment
Out of nowhere, a slew of previously confidential documents detailing Sega’s escapades from the 90s have surfaced online, and one of them has revealed that the company had an unfounded amount of confidence in the Sega Saturn’s ability to rival the PS1 in America.
As PC Gamer reports, out of all 272 pages of information that have been published, it’s a screenshot of one particular email that’s been raising eyebrows. The former CEO of Sega of America, Tom Kalinske, sent it on 28 March 1996, less than a year after the Sega Saturn’s launch in the United States. The console wasn’t selling well, but he was confident that given its performance in Japan, consumers would eventually take notice of it and favour it over the PlayStation. Spoiler alert - that didn’t happen.
“It is one thing to hear or read about how well we are doing in Japan versus Sony, it's another to personally witness it,” Kalinske wrote. “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,” he continued. “The retailers commented they can't compare the true sales rate because Saturn sells out before they can measure accurately. […] I wish I could get all our staff, sales people, retailers, analysts, media, etc. to see and understand what's happening in Japan; they would then understand why we will win here in the U.S. eventually.”
This is huge. A 272-page PDF of classified Sega of America docs from ~1996 was just posted online.— John Harrison - Mega Drive Shock (@MegaDriveShock) July 3, 2023
There is so much info here that it's almost overwhelming. Manufacturing costs, retail margins, sales, product strategies, emails, etc.https://t.co/2XWbpu9QdK pic.twitter.com/akhxdK7fwd
Well, that aged like milk. That aside, retro gaming enthusiasts and internet historians are bound to be having a field day with this new onslaught of information, which was previously lost to time. Who knows what else is going to be uncovered?