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Did Sega Turn Down the Nintendo 64 Hardware?

It is almost the point that gamers can point to that was the fall of Sega.  Releasing a ton of add-ons for the Sega Genesis seems to be the point that most game companies point at when asked why they didn’t support the Sega Saturn.  That Sega was all over the place.  They were actually.  While they were focusing on the Sega 32X they were also working on what would become the Sega Saturn but did you know that Sega could have given gamers what Nintendo didn’t?  Sega turned down the Nintendo 64 hardware.

In an interview with, Tom Kalinske was discussing his time with Sega of America.  One of the questions ended up with a bombshell answer that no one expected.  Sega was offered the hardware precursor to what became the Nintendo 64 console.  Think about that.  Imagine had Sega not passed on the Silicon Graphics MIPS Inc hardware (the basis of the N64).  Imagine had Sega not focused on the Sega Saturn, and possibly stopped work on the Sega 32X, around this time.  While we have our imagination hats on, just think what the Nintendo 64 could have been like had it had 2.5D Sonic the Hedgehog, Shining Force III and Nights into Dreams all on CD-ROM based media and that SGI little brother under the hood.

Yeah, I think they may have messed up.

It is a shame to think back and realize that Sega was SO close to releasing the Nintendo 64.  Had they released this hardware would things have been different?  What would Nintendo have come to market with, if at all?  Without the Nintendo 64 hardware could we have seen the switch over to hand held market only for a generation from the Big N?  Maybe Nintendo would have pulled out something by teaming up with one of the 3D video card makers of the time (like Sega did a few years later for the Sega Dreamcast).

Who knows but it sure is fun to think about.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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2 Responses to “Did Sega Turn Down the Nintendo 64 Hardware?”

  1. The Rook says:

    I believe this was in the Blake Harris book, Console Wars which was release last year. I listened to an audio book version of it and remember hearing this story. I believe in the book it was Sega of Japan that basically said no causing Tom to tell the people at Silcon Graphics to go talk to Nintendo.

    • Carl Williams says:

      That sounds about right. I try to cite sources that are freely available when writing these articles as a lot of our readers are not in the position of purchasing merchandise.

      I am glad that it is being brought up as being in stuff like the Console Wars book as it will, hopefully, spur people to purchase merchandise like that and see what else was in that book. Thanks for bringing it up.

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