Ken Balthaser

From Sega Retro

Ken Balthaser
Company(ies): Sega of America
Role(s): Product Development Manager

Senior Vice President of Product Development

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Ken Balthaser is the first product development manager of Sega of America, and largely responsible for bringing Western game developers to the Sega Genesis.


Hired in 1989 by Michael Katz to address the issue of the early Sega Genesis library having a low representation of American-developed games, Balthasar worked to reduce the reliance on localizing Japanese releases. Establishing connections with third-party studios in the United States and Europe for game development to expand the platform’s lineup, he began the Sega of America methodology of having company product managers supervise development of external projects. Balthaser’s contributions were also key to the establishment of Sega of America’s first in-house game development studios, and can be attributed to much of the success of the early Sega Genesis library.

In 1991, Balthaser would establish the Sega MultiMedia Studio, a state-of-the-art audio video software production house. Complete with professional recording studio and advanced video processing abilities, it would go on to provide media-based development and support for nearly two dozen Sega of America-published games, as well as non-Sega music artists for commercially-released albums.

Production history