I’m sure a lot of you who are PlayStation fans, know that the PS1 started of life as a join Nintendo/Sony venture, but what you might not know, is that after Nintendo screwed over Sony, Sony went to Sega.
In an interview with MVC, Tom Kalinske a former president and CEO of Sega America , talked about the relationship between Sony and Sega back then, here are some snippets from that interview:
“Sony came to us after they had been rebuffed by Nintendo,” remembers Kalinske.
“They had wanted Nintendo to use some technology that they had, and Nintendo instead chose to work with Philips. That really annoyed Sony. Olaf Olafsson [Sony Electronic Publishing President] and Micky Schulhof [President of Sony America] came to my office and said: ‘Tom, we really don’t like Nintendo. You don’t like Nintendo. We have this little studio down in Santa Monica [Imagesoft] working on video games, we don’t know what to do with it, we’d like Sega’s help in training our guys. And we think the optical disc will be the best format.’
“Well I agreed with them, I thought CDs would be the next format as well. But in those days nobody knew how to programme on optical discs. So I said, “Ok. Let’s combine our efforts. Let’s finance Imagesoft, and let’s finance this little developer called Digital Pictures, which seemed to be furthest along in knowing how to programme on optical disc.’ And they financed three titles from Digital Pictures and we did as well.
“So our relationship with Sony was very close and very tight. We together worked a lot of these things out. And Sega of America and Sony were both convinced that the next platform had to use optical discs. We had been working on this CD ROM attachment to the Genesis [Mega CD], which we knew really wasn’t adequate, but it taught us how to make games on this format.
“We had the Sony guys and our engineers in the United States come up with specs for what this next optical-based hardware system would be. And with these specs, Olafsson, Schulhof and I went to Japan, and we met with Sony’s Ken Kutaragi.
“He said it was a great idea, and as we all lose money on hardware, let’s jointly market a single system – the Sega/Sony hardware system – and whatever loss we make, we split that loss.”
Kalinske loved the sound of this deal. As Sega made some of the biggest games in the world, he was certain it would be Sega that would make the most money from this deal. All he needed was the Sega Board to say yes.
“Next we went to Nakayama [Sega President] and the Board at Sega, and they basically turned me down. They said: ‘That’s a stupid idea, Sony doesn’t know how to make hardware. They don’t know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?’ That is what caused the division between Sega and Sony and caused Sony to become our competitor and launch its own hardware platform.”
This is only a small part of that awesome interview, if you want to read some awesome history on the console wars back then, click the link below:
A Tale of Two E3s – Xbox vs Sony vs Sega