In an effort to help enter the video game console market Microsoft had at one point considering buying Sega. Despite being very surprised to hear this news it does sound plausible. Of course this was a long time ago now; well before the Microsoft Xbox. This idea certainly has my imagination spinning. What would have happened if Microsoft actually did this? I’m sure the Xbox we know would have entered the market pretty much as it is now (possibly with a different name?). But what would have happened with Sega’s awesome software? I can’t help but think that Microsoft would have done a lot more with Sega’s massive game library than Sega has done. Based on how well Microsoft did with their own games I can’t help but think they would have brought us some very worthy or even exceptional sequels for many of our favorite Sega titles.
Below is the article I found at IGN.com. It states that this information has come from former Microsoft VP Joachim Kempin.
Microsoft’s long-rumoured plan to acquire SEGA never came to pass because Bill Gates was sceptical the company had “enough muscle” to stop Sony, according to the company’s former VP of Windows Sales.
Joachim Kempin, who worked at Microsoft between 1983 and 2003, made the claim in an interview with IGN due to go live later today. He explained that the acquisition of SEGA was originally floated as an easy way for Microsoft to enter the console space and stop Sony, especially given the huge financial losses associated with in-house hardware manufacturing.
“There were three companies at that point in time, I think this was [Sony,] SEGA and Nintendo. There was always talk maybe we buy SEGA or something like that; that never materialised, but we were actually able to license them what they call Windows CE, the younger brother of Windows, to run on their system and make that their platform.
“But for Bill [Gates] this wasn’t enough, he didn’t think that SEGA had enough muscle to eventually stop Sony so we did our own Xbox thing.
“There were some talks but it never materialised because SEGA was a very different bird. It was always Sony and Nintendo, right? And Nintendo had some financial trouble at that point in time, so Sony came out with the PlayStation and bang! They took off, and everyone else was left behind.”
I think what WOULD have happened is we may have seen some console like a more advanced version of the Dreamcast launch sometime around 1996 – 98 with more power than the PSOne and a bunch of cool Sega titles…
You could be right. Since it looks like the Dreamcast was powered by Windows CE maybe the xbox would have ended up more like the Dreamcast. It’s killing me that Sega isn’t doing much with their games. What Genesis titles have been re-imagined into a good new game since the 16-bit era? A couple of Sonic games and not much else.
Well, a good deal of the best Sega Genesis games weren’t programmed internally by Sega or many of the people who worked on them moved on after the 16-bit era to making games for new platforms (or do other things). So some titles that were great back then would need teams dedicated to making newer games that worked as well as the old ones did. Of course, companies such as Capcom, Konami and others own the rights to their stuff and need to be convinced that updated versions would make them some money… a hard sell in this day and age of cheap, cheap mobile games.
Sega has attempted to revive stuff, but the results have been really mixed. Altered Beast, Golden Axe, ToeJam & Earl and a few others have gotten reworked to mixed results (not too good in many cases) and the many compilations of Genesis/MD classics have been hampered by weird choices for the collections (too many “B” quality titles and not enough cool rare stuff), improper (or no) HD support and a general “just get it out, they’ll buy it!” attitude that’s a bit annoying at times.
In a perfect world (as in if I had a ton of money lying around) I’d LOVE to go through their entire library of games and pick out about 50 – 100 that deserve a proper update and get them out there to the fans. Sega needs to link forces around the globe and get it together so every territory can get the same cool stuff on a fairly regular basis because the games are indeed there.
You make some great points. I remember getting pretty excited about Golden Axe Beast Rider only to be really let down. The same is true with many of the Japanese Sega Ages 2500 remade games (I know they were supposed to be budget titles; but still).
And of course you’re right. I think it would be hard to turn a 16-bit game into something modern and still somehow keep the enough of the old goodness intacted. But Sega should be trying a lot harder.
Capcom’s remakes for Ghouls and Ghost and Mega Man for the Sony PSP are excellent examples of making a 16-bit game look awesome while still maintaining everything that made them awesome.
And again, great point 🙂 If Sega isn’t going to put the effort into re-making games then at least offer better compilations. The recent Sonic’s Ultimate Collection I thought was really well done. The games, the menu, the music and the extras. They all rocked. If nothing else we need more of that.