In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

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In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by cube_b3 » Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:47 pm

After the first holiday season in the US the PlayStation was a success selling well. Bernie was then offered the opportunity to leave Sony and take the helm at Sega of America managing the Sega Saturn. Stolar while not as strict with licensing policies at Sega as he was at Sony decided against bringing over many of the most popular Saturn titles citing limited appeal in North America and failure to show off the Saturn in as positive of a light as possible as reasoning. As the Saturn continued to struggle in North America, Stolar pressed for Sega to develop a new platform which would eventually become the Dreamcast. While Stolar left the company a month prior to the US release of the system, Stolar is infamously credited by many Sega fans, for helping kill the Saturn prematurely in favor of developing the Dreamcast.

Stolar is fondly remembered for his "Saturn is not our future." remark in the 1997 E3 not to mention his "There is no more Tekken." line during a TV interview (which followed after Namco confirmed supporting Sega's console starting with Soul Calibur). The Tekken line was also Stolar's stab against Sony and its next generation plans, although Namco confirmed later that the PlayStation2 will be getting Tekken games, in addition to the MLB2K, NBA2K, and PGA Golf franchises.

Aside from that, there were insider reports that he actually went against his Japanese superiors by pricing the Dreamcast with a launch price of $199 (which he unveiled in a speech in early 1999, to standing ovation). Reportedly, Sega Japan wanted to price the DC at $249 in order to be very profitable right from the start. Prior to the Dreamcast's American launch in 1999, Stolar was fired and received a $5,000,000.00 severance package from Sega.
This is purely a personal opinion but if it wasn't for him the Saturn would have done better & the Dreamcast would still be alive.

AND WAIT, I am not ignoring the face that Dreamcast had a very sexy US launch compared to Japans all thanks to Stolar.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by Zealous zerotype » Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:24 pm

Piss off, it doesn't matter. The saturn sucked, the dc sucked end of story.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by |darc| » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:43 pm

BILAL_XIA wrote:& the Dreamcast would still be alive.
Even if they made all the right decisions, there is nothing that Sega could have possibly done to keep the Dreamcast alive this long.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by RMD » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:57 pm

Umm he realised how shitty the saturn was and helped make the DC. Plus he gave us the awesome price of the Dc which helped it sell out very fast when it first came out. How is this a bad thing?
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by cube_b3 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:47 pm

It was not his place to decide if it was shit or not, it was his place to market it at the best of his ability instead he took an easier ruote, (although I must admit convincing the Sega JP to discontinue saturn must have been hard, but not as hard as changing perceptions about the Saturn) to speed the process he refused to release some of the best software for Saturn in America therefore the Dreamcast development was rushed, if Sega took more time in developing Dreamcast, just imagine...

As for you guys getting it cheaper, you do know each Dreamcast sold was a dollor (or something like that) loss to Sega, if it was 250$ they would've made profit on the console and not just the games.

Sure, it could've had maybe a 10 to 20% (make it 30% if you like but it CAN NOT be more then that) loss on the sales, but I belive the flow of sales would've been constant, the sales of Dreamcast were very extreme (going to very high to very low) which would've also prevented Sega to over produce Dreamcast units.

Just try and look at the What if side, you know I've read so many long essays which blame Sega Japan... but I think I have diagnosed a major US fault.

An alternate to Stolar's plan of 199$ would've been to include the best Dreamcast game as a pack-in for 250$ (Part of Tom Kalinske's Marketing Tactics).
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by Morphv2 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:05 pm

Without Stoler, there would not have been a Dreamcast in the US. Sega of Japan decided to push the retardedly hard to program Saturn even though more advanced yet simple machines were on the market, which was bleeding them dry. They were losing hundreds of dollars on hardware that they didn't have software to back up. SOJ doomed the Dreamcast before it got started by giving Sega hardware a bad shadow. Stoler did his best, but because he effectively told SOJ to piss off, they fired him.

Kudos to Stoler for having half a god damn sense.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by cube_b3 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:34 am

You do know the saturn was profitable in Japan, while games stopped for US saturn in 1998, Japan was a diffrent story even after the release of Dreamcast, Saturn games continued till 2001 (nearly).


Wikipedia in reference to Saturn sales in Japan.
Saturn software enjoyed higher sales, a fact boosted by their successful Segata Sanshiro advertising campaign, leading to the perception that the Saturn was the platform of choice for more dedicated gamers while the PlayStation had a more casual audience.[citation needed]

Many of the games that made the Saturn popular in Japan, such as the Sakura Taisen series and numerous quirky anime style RPGs, were never released in foreign territories due to policies put in place by then Sega of America president Bernie Stolar (following direct commands of Sega of Japan's CEO Hayao Nakayama) who believed that RPGs (or even most Japanese games in general) were not appealing to the North American audience.[citation needed]

The last commercial licensed release in Japan and last official game for the system was Yukyu Gensokyoku Perpetual Collection, released by Mediaworks on December 4, 2000.
Fact is as of late US division isn't doing a great job since Kalinske left. Take Peter Moore for example he cancelled Shenmue 2, Head Hunter & Rez and these are one of the best games on the system.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by Calavera » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:08 pm

BILAL_XIA wrote:As for you guys getting it cheaper, you do know each Dreamcast sold was a dollor (or something like that) loss to Sega, if it was 250$ they would've made profit on the console and not just the games.
Then why wouldn't they have set the price at $205 and made a couple bucks. So I don't think that is true.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by cube_b3 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 3:53 pm

A) All I know for a fact is Sega made X amount of loss per Dreamcast Sold.

B) There is more to pricing and profit then just a products retail price.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by butters » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:33 am

BILAL_XIA wrote:You do know the saturn was profitable in Japan, while games stopped for US saturn in 1998, Japan was a diffrent story even after the release of Dreamcast, Saturn games continued till 2001 (nearly).


Wikipedia in reference to Saturn sales in Japan.
Saturn software enjoyed higher sales, a fact boosted by their successful Segata Sanshiro advertising campaign, leading to the perception that the Saturn was the platform of choice for more dedicated gamers while the PlayStation had a more casual audience.[citation needed]

Many of the games that made the Saturn popular in Japan, such as the Sakura Taisen series and numerous quirky anime style RPGs, were never released in foreign territories due to policies put in place by then Sega of America president Bernie Stolar (following direct commands of Sega of Japan's CEO Hayao Nakayama) who believed that RPGs (or even most Japanese games in general) were not appealing to the North American audience.[citation needed]

The last commercial licensed release in Japan and last official game for the system was Yukyu Gensokyoku Perpetual Collection, released by Mediaworks on December 4, 2000.
Fact is as of late US division isn't doing a great job since Kalinske left. Take Peter Moore for example he cancelled Shenmue 2, Head Hunter & Rez and these are one of the best games on the system.
I've bolded the relevant parts.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by |darc| » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:09 pm

butters wrote:
BILAL_XIA wrote:You do know the saturn was profitable in Japan, while games stopped for US saturn in 1998, Japan was a diffrent story even after the release of Dreamcast, Saturn games continued till 2001 (nearly).


Wikipedia in reference to Saturn sales in Japan.
Saturn software enjoyed higher sales, a fact boosted by their successful Segata Sanshiro advertising campaign, leading to the perception that the Saturn was the platform of choice for more dedicated gamers while the PlayStation had a more casual audience.[citation needed]

Many of the games that made the Saturn popular in Japan, such as the Sakura Taisen series and numerous quirky anime style RPGs, were never released in foreign territories due to policies put in place by then Sega of America president Bernie Stolar (following direct commands of Sega of Japan's CEO Hayao Nakayama) who believed that RPGs (or even most Japanese games in general) were not appealing to the North American audience.[citation needed]

The last commercial licensed release in Japan and last official game for the system was Yukyu Gensokyoku Perpetual Collection, released by Mediaworks on December 4, 2000.
Fact is as of late US division isn't doing a great job since Kalinske left. Take Peter Moore for example he cancelled Shenmue 2, Head Hunter & Rez and these are one of the best games on the system.
I've bolded the relevant parts.
SegaBase wrote: Over in the West, Bernie Stolar is the man most often blamed by Sega diehards in the U.S. for the death of the Saturn. Many reasons are cited, but they all tend to boil down to three key issues - his feud with Victor Ireland of Working Designs over Sega booth space at E3 1997, his public statement at the very same show about the future of the Saturn, and his implementation of the Five Star Games Policy. Let us take a moment to look at these three reasons and see just what bearing they had on Sega's worsening fortunes in 1997. In truth, the Saturn was dying long before Stolar came onto the scene, but since he is perceived by many as putting the final nails in its coffin, let us examine why this may in fact be so. E3 1997 was held 19-21 June 1997 at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georga. The reason for the change of venue was that the show had become so big an event that it had outgrown its previous stomping grounds in Los Angeles. The first keynote address was by IDSA president Douglas Lowenstein, who discussed the growth of multimedia and the rise of the Internet. Lowenstein noted in his speech that official NPD research data indicated that there had been a 58% incress in console game sales, some 6 million nextgen consoles were already in the homes of U.S. gamers, and it was expected that there would be as many as 16-18 million by the end of the year. The second keynoted address was by NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, there to discuss the founding of his employer's MSNBC online news service. So what does all of this have to do with Bernie Stolar and the demise of the Saturn? Plenty, as it turns out. There were two things that happened at E3 1997 that bore on Saturn's ailing fortunes, and both of them are connected directly with Bernie Stolar.


The first problem for Saturn at E3 1997 attributed to Stolar was the apparently spontaneous eruption of a feud between Sega of America and software licensee Working Designs, its number one importer of RPGs. Due to a series of events and misunderstandings concerning scheduling and booth space that still raise the ire of the principals involved, Working Designs did not get the large area within Sega's E3 booth that it had thought it was supposed to receive. Instead, it was relegated to a small space in the back corner where hardly anybody could find them. Victor Ireland, the president of Working Designs, had already developed a personal dislike for Sega of America president Bernie Stolar going back to the latter's days with Sony due to his brusque manner and dismissal of "non-mainstream games" (i.e. RPGs) as largely unprofitable. He took personally the treatment his company received at E3, perceiving it to be a direct insult levied by Stolar himself, and promptly announced that Working Designs would no longer support any Sega platform so long as Stolar remained in Sega's employ. Stolar remained unpreturbed, but Saturn RPG fans went berzerk at the news. While Working Designs was still committed to release the long-delayed RPG Magic Knight Rayearth for Saturn, it had abruptly cancelled its work on the Saturn port of Lunar Silver Star Story Complete even though the game was reportedly nearing completion. Instead, it was jumping ship into Sony's camp as fast as it could and would release Lunar SSC for PlayStation instead. An upgraded and overhauled version of the highly acclaimed RPG for Sega CD, Lunar SSC had long been awaited by Saturn RPGers, so who could blame them for beside themselves now that their game had been canned? They took Ireland at his word and vented all of their fury on Stolar for his reported behavior - even though a large portion of it was undeserved. While it was true that Stolar and Ireland were not exactly buddies and never would be, it should be noted for the record that Ireland had already decided that Saturn was a dead system and was looking for a convienent excuse to take his company out of the Sega fold. That infamous E3 1997 incident gave him exactly the "cause" he needed to pack up his tent take his show elsewhere - away from a man he personally detested and on to greener, hopefully more profitable pastures. As for Stolar, he was reported to have privately expressed delight that Sega didn't have to deal with such a prima donna licensee anymore.


The second and more damning problem for Saturn at E3 1997 was a single quote lifted from a speech that Stolar gave on 23 June 1997, just two days after E3. "The Saturn is not our future," Stolar said without hesitation during that speech, and it was that one quote that would forever earn him the ire of the hardcore Saturn fanatics. Stolar's quote was reprinted in a number of mainstream videogame magazines, such as Electronic Gaming Monthy, and plastered all over pro- and anti-Sega Internet sites in the months ahead. Rant after rant, rave after rave, flame after flame, the ire continued to pour out of the Sega faithful against Stolar and what he had said, and would do so even years after it was first reported. "For all practical purposes, Stolarexternal link buried the system alive while it still had a pulse left in it," noted one such Sega site. Gamer Henry Knapp was even more blunt. "It seems as if Sega didn't want the Saturn to succeed," he fumed in his own public rant. These two are actually some of the milder comments that one can find in print and on the Internet that were generated by Stolar's words, but he never took it back nor apologized for his remark. Why? Because he was now focused on Sega's next console, and he didn't really give a damn anymore as to what happened to Saturn. It wasn't and wouldn't make Sega any more money - but its successor might, provided it was given the proper time and effort for a successful launch. That is where Stolar was focusing his talents and efforts: towards Sega's potentially bright future, instead of wasting his time on its present failures. He didn't care about the Saturn, its sales, its software, or anything about it. What he cared about was the new console, for that repesented Sega's last chance at making a profit and climbing out of the financial hole it was fast digging for itself. Above all else, he had faith that the average Sega gamer would eventually understand ... given time, that is.


The third of Stolar's perceived problems was his Five Star Games Policy, which went into effect on 20 June 1997 and is often blamed for the dearth of good Saturn titles in the West. It was put together in an effort to assure top quality, top selling Saturn games for the U.S. market. All submissions from both Sega's own programming divisions and its third party licensees were subject to the Five Star grading criteria, which emphasized "quality over quantity." If submissions did not receive a composite score of 90 or more, then they would have to be reworked or else they would be dropped from the release list. It sounded good when it was first announced at E3 1997, but shortly thereafter came to be blamed by irate Saturn gamers as the reason why so many good Japanese Saturn titles never made it out of Japan. Take Sakura Taisen, for instance. This odd yet excellent combination of mech combat sim and romance simulation was wildly popular in Japan and had a devoted following in the U.S., yet Sega never saw fit to release the game in the West. Saturn fans pointed to the Five Star Policy, which seemed to ensure that such a market-specific title would never see the light of day in the West - and since Stolar put that policy into place, then it was Stolar's fault. They point to other titles left behind in Japan, such as Radiant Silvergun, considered the best shooter ever created for the platform, and then proceed to call Stolar every dirty name in the book in every language they know. After all, hadn't he screwed up good games for the PlayStation launch back when he was with Sony? A lot of Saturn gamers from that day still blame Stolar and his Five Star Games Policy for the dearth of good Saturn titles in 1997 and 1998, even though in truth it had very little to do with them. It was Sega's own executives over in Japan and not Bernie Stolar who was calling the shots as to which Saturn titles would make it across the pond. He had more pressing concerns to worry about - like ensure that the Saturn left this world with some grace while he readied Sega's next system for its eventual market debut.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by HomerCIDAL » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:27 pm

I don't think it would have made much difference if Stolar had prolonged what was happening with the Saturn. The fact of the matter is the Saturn suffered at the hands of programmers that couldn't grasp creating games for it as easily as they could for the fledgling Playstation which caused the premature death of the system. This domino effect brought about the early release of the Dreamcast and with technology continually getting cheaper by the year, the PS2 came out when better technology was more affordable and the system was priced $100 more than the launch price of the Dreamcast.

I can't say for sure Stolar was a terrible employee, but it's sad that this is Sega's fate. I would certainly purchase another Sega machine if it became available, based solely on their arcade offerings! Maybe they should have had their arcade division run the home console division to begin with!
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by Sultan of Saturn » Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:43 pm

1) There are a ton of awesome games that never came to the Saturn in the US due to Stolar AND other publishers - just because Sega chooses not to publish X game from Japan doesn't mean that somebody else couldn't have published it - ex: Konami could have easily published Castlevania, Snatcher, Policenauts, and all of their great shooters, but instead we get some crappy sports game, the terrible Contra game, Corpse Killer, and other forgettable stuff.

2) Stolar pissed off Working Designs at E3- WD decides to not publish Lunar SSS. Therefore, die hard Saturn fans have to import both Lunar games for their system. Even if Stolar is "credited" for the Dreamcast launch. Fact is that Sega would have made another system because that is the nature of the industry...wait 5 years and turn out more hardware. WD doesn't support the Dreamcast, and we end up having a shortage of rpgs and tactical games in the US...

3) Besides the Nights into Dreams commercials, Sega Saturn commercials in the US really sucked. I would have rather enjoyed dubbed versions of Segata Sanshiro.

In the end, regardless of who, what, when, where, and why - people are easily susceptible to whatever is popular from whatever big name / celebrity says it is. How many people pick up Madden X and pay $$ each year for an updated roster?
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by Christuserloeser » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:22 am

I highly doubt the mismanagement of SOA was a one-man job. They went an entirely wrong road when the Mega Drive / Genesis became popular. Pretty much each and every single business decision from '93 to (at least) '99 was as wrong as it possibly could have been.

They completely neglected that it's been the Japanese software (and hardware!) that made the company big. What weakened them was the fight of the Japanese and US devisions that resulted from SOA running amok in '93.
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Re: In My Eyes The Worst Sega Employee

Post by cube_b3 » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:34 pm

Sultan of Saturn wrote:1) There are a ton of awesome games that never came to the Saturn in the US due to Stolar AND other publishers - just because Sega chooses not to publish X game from Japan doesn't mean that somebody else couldn't have published it - ex: Konami could have easily published Castlevania, Snatcher, Policenauts, and all of their great shooters, but instead we get some crappy sports game, the terrible Contra game, Corpse Killer, and other forgettable stuff.

2) Stolar pissed off Working Designs at E3- WD decides to not publish Lunar SSS. Therefore, die hard Saturn fans have to import both Lunar games for their system. Even if Stolar is "credited" for the Dreamcast launch. Fact is that Sega would have made another system because that is the nature of the industry...wait 5 years and turn out more hardware. WD doesn't support the Dreamcast, and we end up having a shortage of rpgs and tactical games in the US...

3) Besides the Nights into Dreams commercials, Sega Saturn commercials in the US really sucked. I would have rather enjoyed dubbed versions of Segata Sanshiro.

In the end, regardless of who, what, when, where, and why - people are easily susceptible to whatever is popular from whatever big name / celebrity says it is. How many people pick up Madden X and pay $$ each year for an updated roster?
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