In 1999, less than two weeks before the release of Sega Dreamcast, Sega of America President Bernie Stolar was dismissed from the company. While the exit has been described as a “disagreement” between Bernie and then Sega of Japan Chairman Isao Okawa, Bernie had told some exactly what happened.
According to Stolar, because Sega Dreamcast would be online capable, Mr. Okawa determined that games could be sold online and not in retail stores, so the company would be walking away from retail.
Frustrated, Stolar told Okawa, “You can’t do that, I’ve already received $300,000,000 in orders and sent that money to you! Are you going to give it back to me?” Okawa replied that he would not.
What ensued was an argument about why Sega needed to stay in the physical space of retail, and why it would be a mistake to walk away from it. Mr. Okawa and Stolar then exchanged heated words, with Stolar finally saying something that upset Mr. Okawa.
Stolar was fired the following day.