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Okawa goes to the Great Arcade in the Sky

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So farewell then, Isao Okawa, president of Sega, who yesterday died of heart failure at the ripe old age of 74.

Okawa - as all the reports will tell you - made headlines recently by handing over to Sega staff ¥85 billion ($695.7 million) worth of shares in Sega and other companies, including CSK, Ascii and NextCom. The donation was made to ease the pain of the console maker's decision to cease Dreamcast production.

What isn't mentioned is that Okawa himself let slip the plan to abandon the hardware market back in late 1999, with the expected effect on the company's sales. Sega later maintained that Okawa's comments, made at the opening of a Japanese educational establishment, were taken out of context, but saying Dreamcast will be the last of its kind seems to us a pretty clear statement of intent.

Okawa went on to say that Sega's future lay in the software market, and indeed that's the direction it is now taking. ®

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