Peter Moore has revealed in a recent interview that the former President of SEGA of America once told the creator of Sonic to “F— off.” The dramatic showdown came, predictably, near the end the businessman’s tenure with SEGA of America, and was the result of an attempt to show the Japanese side of the business that the company’s corporate image in the United States was in dire straits compared to the competition.
Moore estimates the verbal showdown took place around 2001-2002, when SEGA of America ran a focus group in San Francisco. Moore wanted to prove to his Japanese cohorts that the SEGA brand was simply fading away in the midst of its competition, and so posed the following question to American consumers: if a video game publisher was a relative or a friend, who would they be? The results fell in line with his expectations, with consumers responding that while Electronic Arts was an arrogant popular quarterback and Rockstar was everyone’s drunken uncle, SEGA was everyone’s Grandfather that used to be cool.
Moore filmed the focus groups and played it in Japan so that he could show the overseas office the difficulties that SEGA faced in America. Yuji Naka, one of creators of Sonic, was present for this meeting, and Moore himself states that they had a love-hate relationship on a good day. Upon seeing the lackluster response to SEGA in the film, Naka-san slammed his hand on the table and declared, “This is ridiculous. You have made them say this. SEGA is the great brand, nobody would ever say this, you have falsified!” Moore, ever the eloquent executive, simply told his translator to tell Naka-san to “F— off.” When the translator, who probably feared what would come next, told Moore that there was no equivalent expression in Japanese, Moore simply stated “I know there is” and, predictably, Moore never stepped foot in the Japanese office again.
Moore states that despite his response to the accusations of falsifying the video, he still loves SEGA. He had wanted the company to recognize that it needed to change like its competition was, and felt that the company far too driven by the wants of its developers – if people like Rikiya Nakagawa, Yu Suzuki, or Kazuma Iguchi weren’t into an idea, it simply didn’t happen. In an earlier interview, Moore declared that the Dreamcast was condemned to failure because of the SEGA Saturn anyway, but perhaps the company would be drastically different today if Moore’s criticisms had been addressed back then.
In any event, the now 62-year-old has returned to his hometown of Liverpool to assume the position of CEO of Liverpool FC. The popular industry figure has seen a journeyman career take him from SEGA, to Microsoft as a corporate Vice President of its Interactive Entertainment Division, and then to Electronic Arts as head of its Sports Division. For someone who admittedly didn’t know much about video games when he was initially hired by SEGA, the British businessman has carved an admirable career for himself – and after cussing out a respected video game producer, that in itself is quite the achievement.
What do you think about Peter Moore telling the creator of Sonic to ‘F— off’, Ranters?