Site Sections


Entity Information

The Sega Company (SErvice GAmes company) formed in 1954, importing American pinball machines to US airbases in Japan. In the mid-1960s, they went into coin-op productions and in the 1970s, moved into arcade games, creating games such as Carnival, which was later released on consoles such as the ColecoVision.

Sega's console history is a long story of battles against rival companies, with some successes, but a lot of failures. Their first video game console was the SG-1000, test-marketed in 1981 and released in Japan in 1983.

Unfortunately, it was soon killed by Nintendo's Famicom, released the same year. Sega released an updated version; the SG-1000 Mark II as well as a computer version, the SC-3000. Their next console was the most successful yet - The Sega Master System (known as Mark III in Japan). While it was technically superior to the NES in many ways, it failed to catch on to American gamers due to Nintendo's already huge library of games with third party support. But the following for the system in Europe was quite the opposite, where it was very successful even more so than the NES. The Master System was also very popular in Brazil.

But if Sega was to make a big impact in the US market, they had to do something really big to outdo Nintendo. That's just what they did with the release of the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1989. This 16-bit system was much better than the NES is every way and came with the arcade favourite "Altered Beast". The Mega Drive/Genesis was Sega's most successful console and by 1993 they had pulled ahead of Nintendo in the market share.

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill from there. While Sega managed to stay ahead of Nintendo's newly released Super NES console for a while, boasting that the Mega Drive/Genesis had a faster processor with fast games like Sonic the Hedgehog, it wouldn't last forever as the much richer Nintendo would come ahead with games like Donkey Kong. The concern over video game violence at the time was also a factor contributing to Nintendo's regain of the lead as they had more G-rated games. Sega needed to find ways to once again outdo Nintendo. This time, they tried a number of ill-conceived add-ons for the Mega Drive/Genesis like the Mega CD/Sega CD and the 32X. While these systems were great, they were far too expensive and so they didn't catch on (much like the Sega Game Gear, which is also worth mentioning. This 8-bit handheld system was made to compete with Nintendo's GameBoy. While it was colour and had the capability of a TV tuner add-on, the price was much higher than that of the GameBoy and so it was not as popular). Sega also made a handheld Genesis called the Nomad. Also a great idea, but too expensive and too bulky.

It was time for Sega to move on - something they should have done a while ago. The add-on systems didn't do Sega any good as they were still second best behind Nintendo. In 1994, Sega released the Saturn, which received a reasonable following, but was beaten by the PlayStation, the first console from Sony. The Saturn finished up with a couple of hundred games in its library, but couldn't compete in a world dominated by PlayStation and Nintendo 64.

Sega beat the rest to making a next-generation 128-bit console; the Dreamcast. It was fast, powerful and had Internet capabilities. It received a good following in the beginning, coming in second on the list of Sega's top consoles. But being the first with a 128-bit console has its downsides. It was more expensive to build since it came earlier than the other companies, and with talks of Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox, some people would rather wait for their release than to trust Sega again. In early 2000, Sega announced that it would stop production of consoles forever and focus just on games. Dreamcast games production ceased in 2002, however, Sega continue to make games for other consoles.

It is not necessarily a bad thing that Sega is only making games now. Through lack of third party support for their consoles, Sega had to produce many of their own games, which has made Sega one of the best game manufacturers around, producing great original games all the time.

Being one of the early arcade game manufacturers in the 1970s, Sega has had a long history of software production, building up to becoming a leader in software development. So much so that the company has 10 research and development teams. Each team was originally named AM1, AM2, etc, but these names were later changed. AM1 became Wow Entertainment, AM2 stayed as AM2, AM3 became Hitmaker, AM4 became Amusement Vision, AM5 became Sega Rosso, AM6 became Smilebit, AM7 became OverWorks, AM8 became Sonic Team (soon after production of Sonic the Hedgehog), AM9 became United Game Artists, and Digital Media became Wave Master. There is a sense of healthy competition between these research and development teams, which has resulted in a diverse range of original games.

Over the years, Sega has had their good and bad moments but after pulling out of the tough and competitive world of hardware manufacturing, Sega shouldn't have any trouble maintaining their image as an innovative software manufacturer as they have for decades now. Visit their website at

Base Media

Copyright © 2000 - 2024 Base Media. All Rights Reserved. Console Database is a trademark of Base Media. Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the Base Media User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Our other sites: Deals United - Daily Deals Aggregator and WhichPlug? - Travel Adaptor Finder.