The history of Sega consoles

The history of Sega consoles

28th August 2019 0 By Emma Thompson

The history of Sega consoles is unknown to many. We are here to go into detail about how Sega has become one of the most well-known gaming consoles. 

Sega was founded in 1940 and first called Service Games, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. It originally created and made jukeboxes and slot machines for the American military. In 1951, Service Games moved to Japan and merged with Rosen Enterprises. From this merger ‘Sega Enterprises’ was created in 1963. 

Rosen Enterprises at the time created Photo Booths to print out ID and work pictures. It then entered the electro-mechanical sector of arcade games. From 1966 Sega Enterprises produced and launched its own arcade machines. The first of these games were Rifle, Periscope and Helicopter. This was just the beginning.

Home Console Market

In 1982, Sega created its first-ever home console – the SG-1000. It was launched in response to a downturn in arcades and under the advice of Hayao Nakayama. The SG-1000 was, however, only released in Japan. With re-branded versions then sold in Australia, Italy, Spain and New Zealand. 

Unfortunately, Sega’s first home console was no match for the Nintendo Famicon which took 90% of the market share. It had a better console, games and strategy compared to the SG-1000. Because of this, Sega then released the SG-1000 II in 1984. It got rid of the hardware issues in the original model and included detachable controllers. 

Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive

Before long, Sega noticed it needed to deliver its biggest punch yet due to the tough competition entering the market. Most of all, better than Nintendo’s entertainment system and all other consoles available. The answer to this dilemma? The Mega Drive, also known as Sega Genesis in America.

The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit home video console released in Japan in 1988. All hardware was adapted from the Sega’s System 16 arcade board onto a Motorola 68000 processor. It supported a massive library of more than 900 games and was known as a powerhouse. With better sounds and graphics than any other console, Sega instantly sold more than a million units when it arrived in America in 1989.

Sixth Generation 

In 1999, Sega Dreamcast was created in America. Being a massive hit, the game made Sega break the record for the company and gaming industry. This was due to it having 18 launch titles to choose from. Sadly, this positivity did not last. The Dreamcast was the first of the sixth generation video game consoles. It came before Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox. 

Unfortunately, when the PlayStation 2 came out just a year later, the competition was too much for the Dreamcast. Because of this, there were no more Sega Consoles. This was the final blow for Sega meaning they could no longer compete. In 2001, Sega announced it would no longer be creating consoles. Instead, it would only provide software to the gaming industry.

Third-Party Software Development 

In January 2001, Sega of America announced it was to become a third-party software publisher. After a few rocky years of net losses and company changes, Sega partnered with Sammy – one of the largest Japanese games manufacturers. Sammy’s chairman became the SEO of Sega and helped the company grow again.

In 2005, Sega bought UK-based developer Creative Assembly – the company behind the Total War Series. Then in 2006, Sega Europe bought Sports Interactive on the strength of its hugely popular Football Manager Series. More purchases and collaborations with western studios were to follow.

Sega: the present time

Sega has helped to create and launch many well-loved consoles and video games such as ‘Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games’. It focused on digital gaming in 2010 by releasing its first-ever app on the iTunes store. Continuing to rise in 2016, Sega acquired Technosoft. 

Now, after years of waiting from fans, Sega recently announced it would be releasing the Mega Mini Drive – a miniature version of the classic Mega Drive/Genesis. While the controllers are full-size reproductions, the drive comes with 40 Megadrive classics and two bonus games.

The Mega Mini Drive launch date is September 19 2019 (US) and October 4 (UK), and is now available on pre-order. It costs  $79.99 in the US, and £69.99 in the UK.