If Sega didn't make so many poor business decisions, would they be making consoles today?

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by dredd, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. dredd

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    Likewise, had systems like the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast not flopped, would they be still be making systems? Would they have been able to fit in the same market as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft at the same time?
     
  2. Aesculapius Piranha

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    Hard to say. I imagine if what had failed for them was successful they would still be doing it, but it wasn't so they don't.

    I think people are too hard on SEGA in terms of business decisions, though. You have to take the bad with the good, and if they never took risks we wouldn't have a lot of the cool classics we do from them. The risks SEGA took are why SEGA is SEGA, and why we love them.
     
  3. Turbohog

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    I don't think your first question needs to be asked. Of course they would have continued making consoles if it was profitable.

    Your second question is more interesting. I don't think there would be enough room for Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft to all have consoles. It's somewhat questionabke even now.
     
  4. Yeah... as much as I'd want Sega to still have consoles on the market, it is already too bloated with Playstation/Xbox/PC all fighting for them to really stand a chance. They'd only have a shot if they opted to be as extra-innovative as Nintendo.

    Oh yeah... and now there's Google and Apples forays into the industry, which will assuredly fail.
     
  5. DigitalDuck

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    That's like asking "if I ran faster, could I be an Olympic sprinter?" Well yeah, that's how it works. If you make good business decisions you stay in business, if you don't then you don't.

    The Xbox was half-Sega anyway, it's likely that if SEGA didn't do the add-on mess and had strong console sales that they simply wouldn't have collaborated with Microsoft on the Xbox, and it either wouldn't have existed or would've been different. Again, assuming SEGA made all the right decisions then it would've been someone else bowing out of the market instead.
     
  6. dredd

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    We've already seen how Nintendo's latest system differs from the rest, how would a potential new system from Sega stand out?
     
  7. Gryson

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    If Sega only made sensible business decisions, then it would have never ENTERED the console hardware market.

    There was always strong pushback from within the board against competing in the home market. Sega never had the resources to go against a giant like Sony, and the other arcade giants in Japan (Namco, Konami, Capcom, etc.) were seeing huge growth in the home market as 3rd-party developers to Nintendo and eventually Sony. Sega president Hayao Nakayama, however, strongly wanted to define Sega as a game hardware manufacturer, both in the arcade and home markets, so he went forward despite the protests. He was able to get away with it as long as it wasn't costing the company, but as soon as it became a burden, he was forced out and Sega bailed on home hardware.

    Also, in terms of "bad decisions", much of what caused Sega to falter in the home market could be better described as being out-competed by stronger rivals. Sega's greatest success (Genesis in NA) came when it had a single main rival that had become complacent and failed to adapt to changing overseas tastes.

    So, in response to the OP, I don't think it was ever in Sega's blood to be competitive against a company like Sony. Sega's greatest strength was always in software.
     
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  8. I have no idea. I was saying Sega would have to find a way to stand out.
     
  9. doc eggfan

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    There was a window of opportunity where Sega could have exploited the hole in the market left behind by the Neo Geo AES - an expensive, elite, hardcore, arcade based gaming system.

    I think they might have been considering it with the RingEdge 2, which appears to be their last attempt at an arcade system with interchangeable software.

    - they enticed back some of their successful NAOMI boutique developers to release games on the RingEdge 2 (Triangle Service, G.Rev, Ecole/French Bread)
    - Sega developed an online "store" - ALL.Net P-ras - where arcade operators could download old and new games.

    [​IMG]

    Based on these two decisions, it would have been relatively simple to offer the RingEdge 2 hardware to home consumers as well as arcade operators. I imagine this could have been done by simply selling the RingEdge 2 hardware through Sega's own online store direct to cashed-up consumers. They needn't worry about wasting money on "consolising" the system or streamlining it from the home, just sell it as is. They needn't have worried about a supply chain to retail stores, just treat each home consumer as another arcade operator within the existing supply lines. The only tweak to the hardware that would have been required is a controller, which could have been a bespoke Sega creation, or they could simply have allowed any usb or bluetooth controller to work (since the RingEdge 2 is PC based)

    This plan might even have helped the RingEdge 2 survive a little longer, as the install base would have grown beyond the few arcade operators left to include a small but enthusiastic group of home consumers, and there would be more potential for a revenue for boutique developers selling games through ALL.Net P-ras
     
  10. Gryson

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    Didn't the RingEdge and successors just contain mid-grade off-the-shelf PC parts? Probably cost $1000 to manufacture one, so it would be very pricey for home use.
     
  11. dredd

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    Is there a source to that statement? That the higher ups at Sega never actually wanted to do business in the hardware market?
     
  12. Gryson

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    I didn't say all of the higher ups - Nakayama and Hideki Sato certainly wanted it. Chairman Isao Okawa was against it, though.

    This is one related quote in English:

    https://www.ign.com/articles/2009/04/21/ign-presents-the-history-of-sega

    Namco and Konami also strongly considered entering the home market at different times, but in the end decided not to. It was always considered a very risky move since it required a huge investment in advance, the hardware had to be sold at a loss, and the competition was severe.

    In regards to Nakayama's singular vision on hardware manufacturing, it's a major narrative in any of the Japanese books written about him.
     
  13. dredd

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    A home video game console by Namco or Konami. Imagine that.

    Hell, even Capcom considered it at one point. They even had a prototype system based on one of their arcade boards.
     
  14. doc eggfan

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    Yep, that's the point. It would not have attempted to compete as a mass market product. It would have been marketed as an expensive luxury/elitist item (sort of like the Neo Geo AES). I'm imagining Sega trying to occupy that tier of the market where SNK used to be - sort of like where Ferrari and Lamborghini sit in the car market.

    With the ALL.Net P-ras network, arcade operators were sharing and distributing the profits from titles across multiple locations. As a home consumer joining the network, you could have contributed a monthly subscription fee to the service instead, compensating for a lack of coins in the coin slot. This would have kept arcade operators happy, and given consumers exclusive access to Sega's arcade titles in the home.

    It probably still would have failed, but it would have been an interesting experiment.
     
  15. Blue Spikeball

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    Eh, I don't think that's the problem. I think it was a combination of Sega losing consumers' faith after jumping ship on too many of their systems, and its tendency to push for hardware before its time arrived (at least in terms of handhelds). Sega may have goofed a number of times, but there have also been instances it had the foresight of seeing where the industry was headed. Its consoles pioneered a number of features that would see greater success later on, many even becoming industry standards. Had Sega had gamers' attention when it put out the Dreamcast, perhaps the company now have online console gaming under its rule.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  16. winterhell

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    SEGA has traditionally been very strong in the arcade business, but super weak in the console market. If you look at their history, even the Mega Drive started out poorly, until they brought Tom Kalinske and (reluctantly) let him do as he pleases. What was it, before him SEGA had only 2% market share, and after him they were dominating?
    Of course they didn't learn a thing, made poor hardware choices by costly upgrading the Mega CD and the Saturn to "one up" the competition, then went behind Tom's back with the whole Saturn exclusive launch that utterly pissed him and many retailer chains. Then they cancelled what, 6 consoles that made profit, to "save" the one that is sinking. And they keep going against the flow to this day with the official Sonic titles. SEGA has no clue.
     
  17. gamerz31w

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    What could happen if Microsoft would give way to Sega allowing them to continue supporting their hardware Sega Dreamcast? Could they bankrupt for instance like THQ and Interplay formerly known as Virgin Games? Perhaps Atari even then might stop making consoles they cancelled creating Atari Jaguar 2 after all in late 90's.
     
  18. gamerz31w

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    What could happen if Microsoft would give way to Sega allowing them to continue supporting their hardware Sega Dreamcast? Could they bankrupt for instance like THQ and Interplay formerly known as Virgin Games? Perhaps Atari even then might stop making consoles they cancelled creating Atari Jaguar 2 after all in late 90's. Probably Epic Games Launcher including their Epic Games Store could be made much earlier including Microsoft Store and Discord(probably livestreaming too). Games like Fortnite Battle Royale could be niche demographic(especially mobile games) including gaming genres like MMORPG,moba, RTS. Shooters like Duke Nukem,Quake, Unreal, Half-Life might be more popular and more profitable including 2D platformers like Jazz Jackrabbit, Commander Keen. Brain interface,Holo-Lens, Quantum computers could be pointless technology arcade machines would be more popular than now, right?
    https://www.gamecrate.com/what-if-sega-never-left-console-business/17610
     
  19. Yash

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    My head canon is had Sega not gone with the 32x at all and built the Saturn off the Genesis/Sega CD architecture (and thus allowed backwards compatibility with both systems) they would have been much better positioned in the PS1/N64/Saturn generation. Their 16-bit business was still booming when they pulled the plug on Genesis to focus on Saturn, which they could have avoided by creating continuity between the two rather than starting from scratch. I'm not technically inclined to know how feasible any of that is, and hindsight is 20/20 here, but I think just that would have greatly improved their fortunes.

    Their best bet at some point would have been to partner with Microsoft, who along with Sony is big enough they'd have no problem sinking money into the industry as long as they could elbow out lesser competitors (like Sega). I don't know if they ever had the same brand potential as Nintendo that they could simply live or die by the video game business alone, especially since even Nintendo's been on shaky ground before - they at least have plenty of cash reserves that they could suffer several Wii U-type failures in a row if they needed to.
     
  20. gamerz31w

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    If Sega could expand life span of their Sega Dreamcast home console does it mean Sega Enterprises and Sega Technical Institute wouldn't bankrupt and never be closed permamently? Perhaps then Sega and Sonic Team could afford their money to make Sonic Adventure 3.