On a beaucoup parlé de l’E3 2013 cette année, avec la confrontation entre Sony et Microsoft, et ces quelques minutes sur le jeu d’occasion et les 100€ qui sépareront la PlayStation 4 et la Xbox One. . .
Tout cela a finalement rappelé à MCVUK l’E3 1995 où le new challenger SONY s’apprêtait à faire face à SEGA. Un long et passionnant article qui revient notamment sur l’envie de quitter le CES, l’alliance SONY/SEGA proposée par Ken Kutaragi, et le lancement raté de la Saturn. Le tout est agrémenté d’anecdotes et des témoignages de Tom Kalinske (SEGA) et Steve Race (SONY).
Voici deux extraits.
Le premier se situe après que Nintendo a choisi Philips à la place de Sony. Ce dernier se tourne alors vers SEGA et lui propose de construire conjointement une nouvelle console. SEGA America est emballé par cette idée, SEGA Japon refuse, arguant que Sony ne s’y connait ni en hardware, ni en software. La suite, on la connait.
“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.”
Ce second extrait dévoile les coulisses du lancement de la Saturn dans des conditions que déplore SEGA America.
Sega took to the stage first, showed off Saturn, its games and its $399 price point. But then the platform holder surprised everyone by announcing that Saturn wasn’t coming out in September, as previously announced, but was actually launching that day.
“I didn’t want to announce that,” says Kalinske.
“We already had a ship date, but the Board at Sega said that as Sony are launching in the Fall – this the same Board that didn’t believe Sony knew how to do hardware – you have to launch immediately.
“But I said that we don’t have enough hardware to fill the shelves and we don’t have enough software. And they just said: ‘Too bad, you’ve got to launch.’ So then I had to make an awful decision, because I couldn’t give every retailer hardware and software, so I could only do it with a few. Who should I do it with? So we picked a couple of retailers and we launched with them immediately that day at E3, with a little bit of software. So that was the launch. That’s not how you launch a video games console.”