SEGA of America 1997 internal documents posted online, showing e-mails and revealing profit margins

Have you ever wanted to know what SEGA of America talked about privately about SEGA as a brand going into 1997? You know, the time period when SEGA was going against the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 in America? When they lost most of the market share they gained with the SEGA Genesis? You can now thanks to a 272-page leaked internal document posted over at SEGA Retro.

In this document you can see SEGA of America discussing stuff like manufacturing costs, how badly the Saturn was selling, retail profit margins, and a lot more. For example, retailers only made a measly 6% per SEGA Saturn sold, that means they made $15 dollars per console. Why would they push it? Another surprising piece of information is that in 1996 it only cost SEGA $232 to manufacture a Saturn console which is a lot lower than we all thought.

One interesting thing though, is that SEGA of America internally was spot on as to how PlayStation dominated the gaming scene:

This document will be huge for SEGA history, especially in 1996 when the gaming giant was slowly falling. Its interesting to see how transparent and self aware they where! Which is the opposite of how they’ve been painted by online gaming discourse, especially “gaming YouTubers”


4 responses to “SEGA of America 1997 internal documents posted online, showing e-mails and revealing profit margins

  1. Peter Sabol says:

    This is sooooo cool! I love historical docs like this. So many inner thoughts of important people preserved.

  2. Mac User says:

    At least we can learn about SOA’s history through this.

  3. LenticularLeo says:

    “Since when did we decide on a Hare Krishna cult?”…interesting

  4. Hodd Toward says:

    I think an article must be made on this:

    Former Sega president Shoichiro Irimajiri Speaks About the Saturn, the 32X, and Sega of America’s Financial Troubles

    Key points:
    – Sega of America wanted to push for the 32X in America, because they thought people couldn’t afford a brand new console. Nothing about the Atari Jaguar as a threat was mentioned.

    – Tom Kalinske was asked to resign for not restructuring the company. Sega of America weren’t making as much money, because of the toys stores returning huge amounts of inventory of the Genesis, resulting in a loss.

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