How did Sega Fail....?

Hello all,

So, I suppose this is going to be a discussion about where, and how Sega went wrong, and how I think they really shouldn't have.

So I was firstly introduced to the Sega Genesis, followed by the game gear, Sega Saturn, etc, etc.

Here's the thing though... Sega was actually WAY AHEAD of it's time, being the first console out there to introduce CD's, which soon after spawned generations of console iterations. I mean, they basically created those oldschool "Tamagachi's" with their dreamcasts virtual Save card, where you could bring your "Sonic Chao's" anywhere, feed them, etc, etc.

I guess it's not going to be a lengthy post, but for those of us who do remember Sega for what they brought including the Oldschool PSO games, why do you think they "Subjectively" failed. They don't make consoles anymore sure, and are basically branded as "Sonic", yet, so many people love sonic, admittedly, I'm not entirely a sonic fan myself, but I do remember the games, and some of their games to me are incredible.

So, was it wrong that Sega took the "Easy" route, and just started to make games instead of consoles? What are your thoughts on Sega?

Personally, I think they had a whole making in the Mmorpg genre, since PSO "Did" have a story, but no one actually played it for that, just like no one plays this game for the story, albiet, a better story. Also Shame on you Sega for making the story just Cutscenes for the most part now.... I (maybe the only one), enjoyed how the Japanese PSO2 worked with it's story, and actually searching/finding story stuff through going out and doing stuff on my own. It's kinda turned into a long, and somewhat boring experience now.

Anyways... Long story short.... Why do you believe Sega Failed, if it did in your eyes?

If you've never looked at the release of the Sega Saturn, give it a go. It was just a "AND ITS OUT NOW" kinda thing. One of the worst launches ever. It almost reminds you of a recent PC release of a certain Sega game. lol

I fear this may not be the right venue for this thread.

@xxHumorxx said in How did Sega Fail....?:

Hello all,

So, I suppose this is going to be a discussion about where, and how Sega went wrong, and how I think they really shouldn't have.

So I was firstly introduced to the Sega Genesis, followed by the game gear, Sega Saturn, etc, etc.

Here's the thing though... Sega was actually WAY AHEAD of it's time, being the first console out there to introduce CD's, which soon after spawned generations of console iterations. I mean, they basically created those oldschool "Tamagachi's" with their dreamcasts virtual Save card, where you could bring your "Sonic Chao's" anywhere, feed them, etc, etc.

I guess it's not going to be a lengthy post, but for those of us who do remember Sega for what they brought including the Oldschool PSO games, why do you think they "Subjectively" failed. They don't make consoles anymore sure, and are basically branded as "Sonic", yet, so many people love sonic, admittedly, I'm not entirely a sonic fan myself, but I do remember the games, and some of their games to me are incredible.

So, was it wrong that Sega took the "Easy" route, and just started to make games instead of consoles? What are your thoughts on Sega?

Personally, I think they had a whole making in the Mmorpg genre, since PSO "Did" have a story, but no one actually played it for that, just like no one plays this game for the story, albiet, a better story. Also Shame on you Sega for making the story just Cutscenes for the most part now.... I (maybe the only one), enjoyed how the Japanese PSO2 worked with it's story, and actually searching/finding story stuff through going out and doing stuff on my own. It's kinda turned into a long, and somewhat boring experience now.

Anyways... Long story short.... Why do you believe Sega Failed, if it did in your eyes?

"Not gonna be a lengthy post." Makes a lengthy and pointless post instead.

I'm really having a hard time seeing how this is relevant to PSO2 general discussion.

@XUL , Yeah I believe this should be moved to one of the Off-Topic.

Now @xxHumorxx , there are many MANY factors regarding SEGA's downfall and in an unfortunate twist, these are things which are still ongoing to this very day.

First off, we have the one thats always been there since day one... SEGA's relationship with their Western branches; SEGA of America and SEGA Europe (though i'll be focusing on SEGA of America). Their relationship had always been rocky from the start... the Megadrive (Genesis) were failures in Japan to the point that it placed third in the Japanese console wars; being beaten by the PC-Engine (Turbografx 16). In Comparison, SEGA of America found great success with the Megadrive in the West to the point that SEGA became a household name, but their methods had always been controversial with SEGA of Japan who were against such things like the aggressive marketing and even their decision to replace the Megadrive's pack-in title with Sonic the Hedgehog.

The messiness between their relations can be clearly seen during the buildup to the SEGA Saturn; Both SEGA of Japan and SEGA of America both had their own independent projects on the console that would succeed the Megadrive. SEGA of America's efforts resulted in the SEGA 32X which was created in response to the Atari Jaguar (yes...) and the 3DO, while SEGA of Japan's efforts resulted in the SEGA Saturn. That said, SEGA of America did in fact make suggestions to try to improve the SEGA Saturn during development; Sony, bitter from their falling out with Nintendo over the SNES-CD, initially turned to SEGA who's American branch was more than happy to work with Sony... but SEGA of Japan? To quote...

"They don’t know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?"

So yes... in some alternate reality, the Saturn was a collaboration between SEGA and Sony but instead... SEGA ended up creating their own enemy. Yet another proposed attempt by SEGA of America to have a say on the Saturn involved a partnership with the up-and-coming NVidia to create a graphics chip for the Saturn since SEGA of America felt that the next generation of gaming would involve 3D polygonal graphics. SEGA of Japan declined, choosing to instead focus on making the Saturn a 2D powerhouse... only really giving it 3D capabilities once Sony unveiled the PlayStation and by then it was too late... the Sega Saturn was way behind its competition; the PlayStation and eventually the Nintendo 64. Combine this with a focus on games that mainly appealed to the Japanese market such as RPGs, Visual Novels as well as games which were mainly 2D and a new SEGA of America CEO who was mostly against such games (3D first and no RPGs!) and you have a recipe for disaster that was the Saturn's Western launch.

The examples of SEGA of America and SEGA of Japan's falling outs go on forever and have caused many things such as this franchise's obscurity in the West, the state of the "Shining" franchise and the various un-localized titles (and why PSO2 was delayed).

Second off, being 'first' doesn't always mean being the 'best' nor does it guarantee sales. The SEGA Dreamcast was ahead of its time and its launch was handled much better than the Saturn, there was lots of hype surrounding the console, its games and its features. However, the moment the PlayStation 2 was announced Sony stole lots of SEGA's thunder... more advanced graphical support, multimedia features, etc... especially the Multimedia! The PlayStation 2's use of DVDs meant that games could be larger than SEGA Dreamcast's propiatory "GD-ROM" drives which could store around 1 GB of data and which also made the PlayStation 2 a cheap DVD-Player compared to what was out in the market at the time. Despite a good start, over time less and less Dreamcasts were sold to the point that SEGA had to begin selling the Dreamcast at a loss to try to compete with the PlayStation 2. The writing was on the wall and SEGA decided pulling out of the console market was for the best...

In the end though I don't consider this a failure... even if they stopped producing consoles, SEGA continues to produce games to this day and have reached out to a wider audience by releasing on other platforms.


To finish off... i'd like to correct some things you said as I feel that SEGA's influence is a bit overestimated. Phantasy Star Online is neither an MMO nor was it the first... games like Everquest and Ultima Online as well as numerous other 90s MMOs had been a thing way before Phantasy Star Online even released. When developing PSO, Sonic Team did actually state in an interview one time that they were against making the game a "Massively Online Multiplayer Game" due to:

  • Not wanting to continuously update the same game for many years.
  • Dreamcast's lack of Harddrive support to store said updates.
  • The amount of time it would have taken to program servers for a true 'persistent world'.

As such, Sonic Team used Diablo as inspiration for Phantasy Star Online. Phantasy Star Online ultimately became the first console "Online RPG" to be widely known (This is actually, SEGA's SECOND attempt though, their first being "Dragon's Dream" on the Saturn). I won't deny PSO's influence on many things... for one, it did introduce the concept of Online RPGs to Japan (MMOs were mainly a PC genre and PC Gaming isn't that popular in Japan...) and it did lead to the creation of many features which are used to this day. Around the time of Phantasy Online Ver. 2's release, the Dreamcast was losing in sales and Sonic Team had shifted gears to port the game to the Nintendo Gamecube... which did end up benefitting the franchise...

That said though, this post is long as it is... the Rise and Fall (and potential resurgence?) of the Phantasy Star franchise is a separate topic on its own...


Also... the way PSO2's story is laid out is the result of the NA version being based on the current JP version which streamlined Episode 1-3's story due to complaints regarding the Matter Board... again another topic on its own.

Other MMOs did have stories also... plus I don't think I remember PSO1's Story ever being a selling point... its just kinda there for those who want to play and enjoy it but the way its presented is bare bones without looking deep into some things.

@Leonkh99 said in How did Sega Fail....?:

@XUL , Yeah I believe this should be moved to one of the Off-Topic.

Now @xxHumorxx , there are many MANY factors regarding SEGA's downfall and in an unfortunate twist, these are things which are still ongoing to this very day.

First off, we have the one thats always been there since day one... SEGA's relationship with their Western branches; SEGA of America and SEGA Europe (though i'll be focusing on SEGA of America). Their relationship had always been rocky from the start... the Megadrive (Genesis) were failures in Japan to the point that it placed third in the Japanese console wars; being beaten by the PC-Engine (Turbografx 16). In Comparison, SEGA of America found great success with the Megadrive in the West to the point that SEGA became a household name, but their methods had always been controversial with SEGA of Japan who were against such things like the aggressive marketing and even their decision to replace the Megadrive's pack-in title with Sonic the Hedgehog.

The messiness between their relations can be clearly seen during the buildup to the SEGA Saturn; Both SEGA of Japan and SEGA of America both had their own independent projects on the console that would succeed the Megadrive. SEGA of America's efforts resulted in the SEGA 32X which was created in response to the Atari Jaguar (yes...) and the 3DO, while SEGA of Japan's efforts resulted in the SEGA Saturn. That said, SEGA of America did in fact make suggestions to try to improve the SEGA Saturn during development; Sony, bitter from their falling out with Nintendo over the SNES-CD, initially turned to SEGA who's American branch was more than happy to work with Sony... but SEGA of Japan? To quote...

"They don’t know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?"

So yes... in some alternate reality, the Saturn was a collaboration between SEGA and Sony but instead... SEGA ended up creating their own enemy. Yet another proposed attempt by SEGA of America to have a say on the Saturn involved a partnership with the up-and-coming NVidia to create a graphics chip for the Saturn since SEGA of America felt that the next generation of gaming would involve 3D polygonal graphics. SEGA of Japan declined, choosing to instead focus on making the Saturn a 2D powerhouse... only really giving it 3D capabilities once Sony unveiled the PlayStation and by then it was too late... the Sega Saturn was way behind its competition; the PlayStation and eventually the Nintendo 64. Combine this with a focus on games that mainly appealed to the Japanese market such as RPGs, Visual Novels as well as games which were mainly 2D and a new SEGA of America CEO who was mostly against such games (3D first and no RPGs!) and you have a recipe for disaster that was the Saturn's Western launch.

The examples of SEGA of America and SEGA of Japan's falling outs go on forever and have caused many things such as this franchise's obscurity in the West, the state of the "Shining" franchise and the various un-localized titles (and why PSO2 was delayed).

Second off, being 'first' doesn't always mean being the 'best' nor does it guarantee sales. The SEGA Dreamcast was ahead of its time and its launch was handled much better than the Saturn, there was lots of hype surrounding the console, its games and its features. However, the moment the PlayStation 2 was announced Sony stole lots of SEGA's thunder... more advanced graphical support, multimedia features, etc... especially the Multimedia! The PlayStation 2's use of DVDs meant that games could be larger than SEGA Dreamcast's propiatory "GD-ROM" drives which could store around 1 GB of data and which also made the PlayStation 2 a cheap DVD-Player compared to what was out in the market at the time. Despite a good start, over time less and less Dreamcasts were sold to the point that SEGA had to begin selling the Dreamcast at a loss to try to compete with the PlayStation 2. The writing was on the wall and SEGA decided pulling out of the console market was for the best...

In the end though I don't consider this a failure... even if they stopped producing consoles, SEGA continues to produce games to this day and have reached out to a wider audience by releasing on other platforms.


To finish off... i'd like to correct some things you said as I feel that SEGA's influence is a bit overestimated. Phantasy Star Online is neither an MMO nor was it the first... games like Everquest and Ultima Online as well as numerous other 90s MMOs had been a thing way before Phantasy Star Online even released. When developing PSO, Sonic Team did actually state in an interview one time that they were against making the game a "Massively Online Multiplayer Game" due to:

  • Not wanting to continuously update the same game for many years.
  • Dreamcast's lack of Harddrive support to store said updates.
  • The amount of time it would have taken to program servers for a true 'persistent world'.

As such, Sonic Team used Diablo as inspiration for Phantasy Star Online. Phantasy Star Online ultimately became the first console "Online RPG" to be widely known (This is actually, SEGA's SECOND attempt though, their first being "Dragon's Dream" on the Saturn). I won't deny PSO's influence on many things... for one, it did introduce the concept of Online RPGs to Japan (MMOs were mainly a PC genre and PC Gaming isn't that popular in Japan...) and it did lead to the creation of many features which are used to this day. Around the time of Phantasy Online Ver. 2's release, the Dreamcast was losing in sales and Sonic Team had shifted gears to port the game to the Nintendo Gamecube... which did end up benefitting the franchise...

That said though, this post is long as it is... the Rise and Fall (and potential resurgence?) of the Phantasy Star franchise is a separate topic on its own...


Also... the way PSO2's story is laid out is the result of the NA version being based on the current JP version which streamlined Episode 1-3's story due to complaints regarding the Matter Board... again another topic on its own.

Other MMOs did have stories also... plus I don't think I remember PSO1's Story ever being a selling point... its just kinda there for those who want to play and enjoy it but the way its presented is bare bones without looking deep into some things.

Very good and detailed post.

I personally loved the "Matter Board" on the Japanese version, which essentially turned into the stupid meaningless "Bingo Board" which almost no one pays attention to.

To those saying this has nothing to do with PSO... It's Sega, and this post is directed towards Sega products. Perhaps you just don't realize that this is a Sega product? I don't know. Either or, it heavily relates, especially if you're old enough to remember such consoles as the Saturn, and Dreamcast, which PSO spawned from (20+ years ago). Either or, just a friendly topic about Sega in general.

Thanks for Sharing @Leonkh99.

@Leonkh99 Good post, I feel the whole Western vs Eastern Sega troubles keep going through PSO and U too, looking back to their treatment of servers. (lmao Eternal Christmas PSO)

By the way on PSO's bare bones story, I feel like long ass EP2 quests are often over looked. https://youtu.be/tBOOFT0xmYY

This likely is off-topic...

As for 'should they make games, consoles, or both'...

I would say you should be making the consoles, or the games - but never try to do both.

It's completely different expertise.

It is akin to asking why Beyonce isn't developing new speaker systems and microphones...

When a company tries to do both - it's going to have a lot of trouble managing pools of talent that have nothing in common and no ability to work across projects. Not to mention all of the resources, supply chains, etc for each different industry.

@Kichwas said in How did Sega Fail....?:

This likely is off-topic...

As for 'should they make games, consoles, or both'...

I would say you should be making the consoles, or the games - but never try to do both.

It's completely different expertise.

It is akin to asking why Beyonce isn't developing new speaker systems and microphones...

When a company tries to do both - it's going to have a lot of trouble managing pools of talent that have nothing in common and no ability to work across projects. Not to mention all of the resources, supply chains, etc for each different industry.

Um.... Do you not know the company named "Sony"? The literally make everything lol.

Look up the History of SEGA ... nuff said .. this is their behavior ever since they were founded. Its just people have a tendency to look back with rose-tinted glasses.

Actually I can sum it for you , Sega DID NOT FAIL. Did they Hesitate?, Sure big-time. But, Who could blame them? At the time the markets were so volatile that so many things were changing at an unprecedented pace.

@Leonkh99 said in How did Sega Fail....?:

Wall of text

I read most of what you posted and some things strike me. First, I always thought it was Nintendo and not Sega who ditched Sony when making the Playstation. From what I understand, what made Sony work more on making the PS1 a polygon visuals powerhouse (at the time) was the arcade version of Virtua Fighter and it's success. But it was Nintendo who they paired with at first. And Nintendo ditched them when they re-read the contract that pretty much passed all control of the software content of the "Super NES CD" to Sony.

Also, a debunk here. The Saturn wasn't as inferior in the polygon department as people think. Sony had better games and more popularity than the Saturn, but while the architectures were different, the Saturn has been proven to be able to hold it's own, and in some cases even do better than the PS1 on a fair amount of polygon based tests. It was just that the dual chip tech was barely used by most devs as it was a bit more complicated to port things into it, and they simply opted for loading everything into a single chip. The one thing that made Sony's console able to get better ports of most everything was that their hardware was extremely easy to code for by existing programmers. So making games for it was very easy for them.

As for nVidia and Saturn, I don't remember anything about it. As far as I remember, it was Silicon Graphics who were named once by the American team. But the Japan team rejected them, opting for Hitachi chips and using "off the shelf" products to lower costs instead. Silicon Graphics paired later with Nintendo to make the N64 architecture.

As for Dreamcast, I remember reading Sega had a sort of competition contract between a team using 3DFX chips and another team using PowerVR hardware. The team using 3dfx was working on a Voodoo and and a Banshee chip. When the 3dfx went to submit their IPO, they were forced by law to reveal info about the making of the Dreamcast, which angered Sega of Japan, causing them to chose the PowerVR option and ending the contract with the 3dfx team.

As for PSO (to stay on the game's topic), the one grand achievement it had was to be among the first home console online multiplayer role playing game. More impressive was that it was a real time action game and not some card game or turn based rpg. Just getting all that data over 56k dial up modem was insane at the time, and an art yet not perfected nowadays in the age of broadband. And going on for the DC, it had other online games as well, way before any other mainstream console ever tried it. And heck, Sega even had that Netlink thing going for the Saturn before all that. So if anything, it may have not been the best, but it paved the way for console online gaming as we now know it. And that's one of the many things Sega broke the ice with, that other companies followed and made better.

Lastly, if you want really good and accurate info on Sega games, I may recommend these tech videos and a channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ5JH5f8ODllQjrzgqdT5Dg Sega Lord X channel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IehwV2K60r8 A technical look at Sonic Blast's MD intro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdD0GvVRSMc How Sonic R got effects thought impossible on the Saturn

One of the earlier consoles, can't remember which one, but it ended up flopping pretty hard. So they rushed out the next console. They also sank a lot of money on different kinds of gadgets to play with, i think one of em was motion control. Anyway the marketing at the time cost them a LOT of money, which brings us to the end console, the Dreamcast.

The Dreamcast was amazing. It wasn't the best graphically, but it had a good number of games (Sonic Adventure and Powerstone.) The issue was they were losing money with every console sale and pirated copies of games became so common that it was easier to find than legitimate ones. It's really a shame, the Dreamcast was one of my fav consoles (I still have mine.)

Sega was one of the leading console designers around the 80's, they went toe to toe with Nintendo, really wish they were still in the market 😕