Tom Kalinske was the man behind SEGA of America in the 90’s and played a crucial role in the 16-bit console was with Nintendo. He overturned Nintendo’s dominance in the United States before Nintendo bounced back and SEGA was in a vulnerable stage.
As a result, SEGA disappeared from the mainstream console business and the gaming world changed forever. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft took over the mainstream gaming market completely in late 90’s and early 2000’s. Kalinske stepped down as the CEO in 1996 after commercial failures of Sega CD, 32X and Saturn.
He left SEGA but never said goodbye to interactive entertainment and worked for LeapFrog and Knowledge Universe. Kalinske is now back in the gaming business as the chairman of Gazillion.
On his return, he spoke about the changes in the gaming world in the past 20 years.
You can imagine being out of the industry for 20 years and then coming back in, the changes are unbelievable. I’ve got so much learning to do. I didn’t even know about things like Steam and Valve. But the great thing is a lot of this was started so long ago. Remember, we had mobile games long, long ago. We did mess around with VR, but never successfully. I cancelled the introduction of VR when I was at Sega because it made everyone sick, basically. I love what’s going on in AR. I’ve been a little bit part of eSports. So I’ve seen these things develop, and I’m so excited about what’s going on.
He went to say that even though things have changed, Gazillion still feels familier.
It reminded me a lot of when I joined Sega in the 1990s… They didn’t have that many products and we had to develop a lot quickly. We did so, and we had a unique strategy to go up against Nintendo. If I have any strength at all, it’s that I like unique strategies, and I’m hoping to help the company by helping them develop some unique strategies.
Gazillion is behind Marvel Heroes and the entire company pretty much relies on this one game. However, Kalinske claims that big things will soon happen for the studio.