- Sega of America has suffered a huge leak, with classified 272-page docs reportedly materializing on the Sega Retro site. The docs from the mid-90s reveal many details about Saturn.
- The massive leak features a slew of details that were secretive until now, shedding light on topics like business strategies, discussions, emails, and the like, alongside the admittance of issues.
- The former CEO Tom Kalinske initially went as far as to say that Sega is killing Sony in a confident email dated March 28, 1996, before things took a turn for the worst.
- The classified documents reveal that the retail margin was only 6%, with retailers only profiting $15 from each Saturn sold. Sega also admitted that “Sony product looks better than ours.”
Sega of America has recently suffered a massive leak, with a huge classified 272-page doc appearing on the Sega Retro site out of nowhere. As initially shared by the Mega Drive Shock Twitter handle, the leak from the mid-90s detailing the history of the giant conglomerate has suddenly popped up on the site. Many details, like the recognized issues with Saturn, and its low retail margin, have also surfaced after many decennia.
The total cost to manufacture the Saturn in early 1996 was $232 – much lower than expected.
The retail margin was only 6%! Meaning retailers made only $15 per Saturn sold.
Emails reveal concern that retailers were going to abandon the market en masse due to low margins.
— John Harrison – Mega Drive Shock (@MegaDriveShock) July 3, 2023
The document is reportedly a treasure trove of all the Sega-related information the general public has lacked all these decades, including where Saturn lacked against Sony, planning around Saturn and other products, various business strategies, discussions, emails, and the like.
The Sega Saturn console seemed to perform better in the US after launch, as stated in an email. The former CEO Tom Kalinske went as far as to say that Sega is killing Sony in a confident email dated March 28, 1996, before things took a turn for the worst.
We are killing Sony. In every store [Japan], Saturn hardware is sold out, and there are stacks of PlayStation. The retailers commented they can’t compare the true sales rate because Saturn sells out before they can measure accurately. 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.”
Nevertheless, we are familiar with how the situation completely turned on the company. Things would escalate quite dramatically against Sega in the next few months as Saturn started to flop against the competition, and the CEO called it quits less than four months later. The classified documents reveal that the retail margin was only 6%, with retailers only profiting $15 from each Saturn sold.
However, Sega of America was not deluded, and the internal docs even reveal that it admitted to many of the lingering issues in coordination on key issues across regions. The classified docs also affirm that the hardware used in Saturn, like the 32X and Sega CD for the Genesis (or Mega Drive), damaged the brand.
The documents went as far as comparing why Saturn is not working out against Sony, listing all the potential reasons concerning why it may have failed, including the admission that “Sony product looks better than ours.” Regardless, Sega released another console after the failure of Saturn, dubbed Dreamcast, before moving away from the hardware market to become a third-party developer and publisher.
Sega Retro is a massive assortment of databases run by the enthusiastic community to preserve the company’s history from the 1940s to today, and the new document is another significant outlook into the eventful history of Sega of America. The renowned conglomerate has not officially commented on the gigantic leak yet; we can expect it not to be too happy about all the findings that have become accessible to the general community.
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