Reading List: Console Wars

Blake J. Harris has penned an exhaustively researched account of the vicious fight between Sega and Nintendo for video console world domination.

Console Wars tells the tale of this battle—or, as it’s described, this corporate war—that put families, friends, and countries up against each other. So who won the rivalry? Sonic or Mario?

In 1990, Nintendo commanded a 90 percent market share of the console and gaming market while Sega was struggling to keep its arcade business afloat. Sega’s fortunes changed dramatically when Tom Kalinske, formerly president of Mattel Inc. and Universal Matchbox Group, took over as president and CEO. Kalinske rehabbed and resurrected Sega with a memorable ad campaign and by implementing consumer-friendly policies. He reduced the price of Sega’s Genesis console and bundled the company’s hugely popular Sonic the Hedgehog game with it. This is a story of an underdog rising to compete in an epic showdown.

With more than 200 interviews with past employees of both Sega and Nintendo under his belt, Harris recounts the courtroom dramas, confrontations, political firestorms and epic showdowns that ensued.

Thanks to Harris’s energetic narrative style, this 500-plus-page tome is surprisingly suspenseful and engrossing.

by Blake J. Harris

May
It Books/HarperCollins; $28.99

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