SEGA once refused TecToy’s monochromatic portable device

Released in 1990 in Japan and in 1991 in the U.S., the Game Gear was very superior from a technical standpoint compared to the Game Boy. Containing a full-color screen with a landscape format and a unique library, it’s widely considered one of the best, albeit flawed, portable systems of our time.

However, the Game Gear had some problems, like short battery life, very high price and also less support from SEGA when we compare to its other consoles. And because of these problems, in addition to others, it couldn’t surpass the Game Boy’s monstrous lead in sales.

Thinking about a new solution, TecToy took a monochromatic product they had found in Taiwan, and after they improved it and created a prototype, they approached American-based Tiger Electronics to distribute it in the U.S.

Randy Rissman, the owner of Tiger at the time, didn’t think twice and said if TecToy could nail down a good price point, they definitely would do it. Afterward, TecToy representatives took the project to Japan to present it to SEGA’s leadership. After making their pitch, SEGA CEO Hayao Nakayama declared, “SEGA doesn’t make monochromatic products.” Despite their best efforts, it was impossible to convince him otherwise.

In the video above, TecToy CEO Stefano Arnhold discusses how he believes he could have convinced SEGA if he had presented it in a different way.

Imagine if this monochromatic portable device had been released? The history as we know could have been totally different. A monochromatic and cheaper portable device could have been the solution? The answer we will never know; however I believe the battle for the Game Boy wouldn’t have been so easy.

About Luiz Nai

I'm huge fan of Sega, I have been playing Sega games for over 20 years and games like Shenmue, Skies of Arcadia, Panzer Dragoon Saga and also all the Arcades race games are my favorites. Besides of playing Sega games I have a post degree in Game development and I enjoy playing guitar in my free time.

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  • Helder Peres

    Como você consegue todas essas entrevistas?

  • Fransiskup Pedraza

    I don’t think so, It had been just another console in a over-saturated market, come on!!, Sega at the time had on the market almost 7 consoles; the game gear, genesis, sega cd, 32x, nomad, sega pico, probably i’m forgetting a couple, the thing is, it’s imposible to make profiatible that amount of consoles, that is insane, if Sega only had focus in the Genesis making more great titles, the history could be different. Another good move that Sega foolish missed; was the posibility to join the newcomer-giant Sony and made together a monstrous 32-bit machine.

  • Berto Yulianto

    But without Tetris on Game Gear, no matter how cheap or how good Game Gear was, GB is still gonna win.