Tom Kalinske

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Thomas "Tom" Kalinske is an American businessman and currently the Executive Chairman of Global Education Learning, a company dedicated to improving education in China. He is best known as the president and CEO of Sega of America from 1990 to 1996, and Mattel before that. His aggressive marketing decisions during his time at Sega, such as price drops, attacking Nintendo, and the famous "Sega Scream" TV campaign, are often cited as key elements in the success of the Sega Genesis.

Inadvertently he contributed to the Sega Saturn failure in the US, where during E3 1995, Tom Kalinske announced that the system was available in selected stores effective immediately instead of sticking by the planned date of 2nd of September 1995, dubbed “Saturnday”. However, Kalinske was completely against releasing the Saturn early, but was forced to do so by Sega of Japan. With few games and consoles in stock, the pre-selected retailers simply weren’t ready to begin distributing the machine, and those left out of the loop were so downright offended by this move that they refused to distribute the Saturn at all. [1]

Despite leaving SEGA in 1996, Isao Okawa who owned SEGA at the time via CSK reached out to him and had him work with the Okawa Foundation.[2]

Tom Kalinske gave an exclusive interview to Sega-16 via an hour long telephone conversation reflecting back on his Sega days on July 11, 2006.[3] Tom is again quoted several times in IGN's 2009 article "IGN Presents the History of SEGA".[4]


Blake J. Harris's book Console Wars, released in May of 2014, chronicles Tom Kalinske's efforts to overthrow Nintendo. The story is told in a third person narrative which was assembled based on more than two hundred interviews carried out by the author with former Sega and Nintendo employees. A documentary from the book's author is in production, and the book is being adapted by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as a movie.


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