Americans surely have gifted entrepreneur brains, David Rosen, a former soldier stationed in Japan saw the increasing market potential and started various ventures from instant photography to exporting the arts. Fore-sighting the ever-increasing demand of amusement products, he co-founded the video game company SEGA in 1965, whose products proved to be the milestones for the gaming industry and retired as a chairman of the company in 1996.
David Rosen founded Rosen Enterprises, Inc. in 1954 after he was relieved from his Air-force duties in 1952. He served with American Airforce in Japan during Korean War. Rosen Enterprises sold the arts and crafts of Japan in the American market. Rosen Enterprises also ran Photorama Photo Studios- instant photo booths, which developed a picture within 2 minutes. The instant photograph idea emerged as a hit business and eventually spread to entire Japan.
With the new found interest towards gaming industry, he decided to merge his company with a company named Nihon Goraku Bussan famously known as Service Games, a slot machine manufacturer. After the deal was finalised, the company came to be known as SEGA, and David was obliged with the CEO’s position in 1965. He was also the founder and the Chairman of Japan Amusement Association in 1967.
Born: 22nd January 1930 at Brooklyn, New York
One would seldom hear a story of a man who was in the military and later went on to become a successful entrepreneur.
Let’s dig deeper into the life of this maestro:
- With the hike in demand for amusement machines in Japan, David started to import them from the USA as they were a popular business there. Later, he married Masako Fujisaki in 1954 and had a daughter named Lisa Rosen.
- SEGA’s name is comprised of the initials of its former company Service Games. Headquartered in Tokyo, SEGA, today, is a Multi-National Company that has experienced ups and downs of the market during its tenure.
- SEGA manufactures, develops and publishes Video Games and manufactures every hardware related to the gaming industry. It also manufactures gaming Consoles. A new division was also formed named as Dreamcast Games which later failed.
- Periscope: The first game designed by Rosen was the Periscope became a big hit in Japan.
- After having a good meeting with Charles Bluhdorn (an American industrialist) in the year 1970, David decided to sell his company to Gulf Western Group (not Viacom). This deal made him a fortune and he became a millionaire. Under this acquisition, Sega produced Frogger (1981) and Zaxxon (1982).
- The logo of SEGA that won every teenager’s heart was designed by Rosen.
- Hayao Nakayama and Rosen’s vision of developing a console finalized the deal with Rosen and Nakayama. SEGA produced its first console SG-1000, a home console with a 4-bit system, priced around $125.
- The tragic death of Charles Bluhdorn in 1983 made SEGA and Rosen look for new support.
- Ironically, even though Rosen and Nakayama had enough money, they were not able to own SEGA and the company needed a new partner, so they approached Isao Okawa, head of Japanese conglomerate CSK. Okawa remained committed to the company until he passed away in 2001.
- The biggest competitor of SEGA is, undoubtedly, Hiroshi Yamauchi’s company Nintendo that swept the Japanese console market of SEGA. SEGA arcade games won kudos but its console market was pathetic.
- Rosen then launched SEGA Genesis on September 15, 1989, a 16-bit advanced gaming console for a price of $190 and sales boomed but still lacked behind the sales of Nintendo’s console. But later with the launch of Sonic the Hedgehog game in 1991, the sales of Genesis soared.
- The launch of 32-bit CD console Saturn became a best seller in Japan but failed to impress the global market.
- Later Rosen moved to his native country and took charge of SEGA West as its President and started manufacturing consoles.
- He served the company until 1996, till the time his deteriorating health forced him to move to Los Angeles.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.