Former Sega President Notes That the Genesis Was Created To ‘Beat’ Nintendo

The "console wars" between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo are amongst the most competitive we've seen in the market. But some folks are wondering if the Genesis was created as a way for Sega to evolve, or simply as a way to "beat" Nintendo at its own game. Well, it looks like we have our answer, straight from Sega's former president.

Sega Genesis

Based on this report from Nintendo Life, the latest issue of Famitsu features an interview with former Sega president Hideki Sato, who talked a bit about the creation of the classic 16-bit console. It appears that, while it was home to some of the more innovative games from the company, its creation was based upon making a game console that could topple Nintendo's 8-bit game.

Said Sato, "In short, we just wanted to make a game console that could beat Nintendo. We released our very first video game console, the SG-1000, and it sold 160,000 units. Those were huge numbers, considering Sega has only made arcade games that sold no more than several thousand units up until then. However, it stood no chance against the Family Computer [Famicom], which released on the same day…

"Back then, we had some Sega employees check out department stores to see the product packaging and customer reaction, but instead what we saw were Family Computers flying off the shelves, right before our eyes. They said that it was about ten for every one who purchased the SG-1000."

So it decided to up its technological game, which paid off compared to the SG-1000, or the Master System as it's known here. And it sold millions of units and kept up handily with Nintendo -- until the Super Nintendo came along, that is.

And by that point, Sato admitted that the company had a hard time keeping up with Nintendo's top-notch game output, including titles like The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past and Super Mario World. "I thought the difference was in software," he said. "Honestly, the software quality wasn't that great. The reason was because the company saw video game consoles as an extra or bonus, in a sense. We couldn't get our in-house development team to budge. We had no choice but to outsource the software, but against Nintendo's fine software, it just wasn't meant to be."

That said, the Genesis still created quite a legacy -- one that you can check out now for Sega Genesis Classics, which is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC; and will arrive on Nintendo Switch next month.


(Hat tip to Nintendo Life for the details!)