Every time a list of video game "What If's?" comes up, on the top of said list is, "What if Nintendo and Sony had actually partnered together to develop that SNES CD add-on?" However, in a recent interview with Sega-16, Tom Kalinkse, former President of Sega, stated that Sony and Sega almost developed a hardware system together.
"One of the interesting things to me is that one of our strongest partners in developing for that platform was Sony. And Sony didn't have a hardware division (at least for video games) at the time. They had a software division run by Olaf Olafsson, who was a great partner to us. They spent lots of money developing games for the Sega CD (probably more than we did), we gave them technical help…a lot of it, we loaned them people; and there was really this wonderful collaborative effort," he said. "We each benefited from each other's work, and I think that's one of the things that has been forgotten in video game industry lore or history: that this very strong bond existed back then between the two companies. In fact, taking it to the next step, at one point Olaf, Mickey Shulhoff (former Sony of America CEO), and I discussed that since we had such a great relationship from working on the Sega CD, why don't we take what we've learned from our software developers – their input -! and use it as the criteria for what the next optical platform ought to be."
"So we got all that and put it together so that it wasn't just pure engineeringese (jargon) but something that people could understand. I remember we had a document that Olaf and Mickey took to Sony that said they'd like to develop jointly the next hardware – the next game platform, with Sega, and here's what we think it ought to do. Sony apparently gave the green light to that. I took it to Sega of Japan and told them that this was what we thought an ideal platform would be – at least from an U.S. perspective – based on what we've learned from the Sega CD, and our involvement with Sony and our own people. Sega said not a chance. Why would it want to share a platform with Sony? Sega would be much better off just developing its own platform, and it's nice that we had some ideas on what that platform ought to be and they'd consider it, but the company would be developing its next platform itself."
Kalinkse also went on to say that since Sega knew they were going to lose money with the next hardware system anyway, the plan was to split the losses between Sega and Sony. But, obviously, the deal never happened.
What would have happened had this deal come about? Well, this writer thinks that the Sega game [i]Shenmue III[/i] might be more than just a dream…