The Sega Genesis, Model 2

Welcome to the The Sega Genesis WikiEdit

The Sega Genesis has many games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Phantasy Star. The Genesis was released in 1989 and was a great home gaming console, with amazing arcade ports like Strider and Golden Axe. Learn this and more in this wikia!

The Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)Edit

The Mega Drive was released in Japan on October 29, 1988. Sega announced a North American release date for the system (under the name of Sega Genesis) on January 9, 1989. Sega initially attempted to partner with Atari Corporation for distribution of the console in the US, but the two could not agree to terms and Sega decided to do it themselves. Sega was not able to meet the initial release date and US sales began on August 14, 1989 in New York City and Los Angeles. The Genesis was released in the rest of North America later that year on September 15, 1989 with the suggested retail price of $189.99, $10 less than originally planned, and also $10 less than the competing TurboGrafx-16.

The European release was on November 30, 1990. Following on from the European success of the Sega Master System, the Mega Drive became a very popular console in Europe. Unlike in other regions where the NES had been the dominant platform, the Sega Master System was the most popular console in Europe at the time. In the United Kingdom the most well known of Sega's advertising slogans was "To be this good takes AGES, to be this good takes SEGA". Some of these adverts employed adult humour and innuendo with sentences like "The more you play with it, the harder it gets" displayed with an illustration of the waggling of a joystick. Sega even spent several million pounds on four or five commercials starring Peter Wingfield as Jimmy, the video game addict to use his celebrity power to help popularize the slogan. A prominent figure in the European marketing was the "Sega Pirate", a talking one-eyed skull that starred in many TV adverts with a generally edgy and humorous attitude. Since the Mega Drive was already two years old at the release in Europe, the many games available at launch were naturally more in numbers compared to the launches in other regions. The ports of arcade titles like Altered Beast, Golden Axe, and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, available in stores at launch, provided a strong image of the console's power to deliver an arcade-like experience. Although the Genesis was not capable of arcade-exact graphics & sound, it was closer than what was possible on the NES or Master System. The arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991 was just as successful as in North America, with the new Sega mascot becoming popular throughout the continent.

In Brazil, the Mega Drive was released by Tec Toy in 1990, only a year after the Brazilian release of the Sega Master System. Tec Toy also ran the Internet service Sega Meganet in Brazil as well as producing games exclusively for the Brazilian market. On December 5, 2007, Tec Toy released a portable version of theMega Drive with 20 built-in games.

In India, distribution of the Mega Drive was handled by Shaw Wallace, while Samsung handled it in Korea. Samsung renamed the console "Super Aladdin Boy", while retaining the Mega Drive logo on the system and adding their own.

The Console WarsEdit

The Mega Drive initially competed against the aging 8-bit NES, over which it had superior graphics and sound. Despite this, the Mega Drive was all but ignored in Japan as soon as it was launched. Despite some positive coverage from magazines Famitsu and Beep!, Sega only managed to ship 400,000 units in the first year. In order to increase sales, Sega released various peripherals and games, including an online banking system and answering machine called the Sega Mega Anser. Despite this, the Mega Drive remained a distant third in Japan behind Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine throughout the 16-bit era.

For the North American market, new Sega of America CEO Michael Katz instituted a two-part approach to build sales in that region. The first part involved a marketing campaign to challenge Nintendo head-on and emphasize the more arcade-like experience available on the Genesis, summarized by the slogans "Gotta get Genesis" and "Genesis does what Nintendon't". Since Nintendo owned the console rights to most arcade games of the time, the second part involved creating a library of instantly-recognizable titles which used the names and likenesses of celebrities and athletes such as Pat Riley Basketball and Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf. Nonetheless, it had a hard time overcoming Nintendo's ubiquitous presence in the consumer's home.

In mid-1990, Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama hired Tom Kalinske to replace Katz as CEO of Sega of America. Although Kalinske initially knew little about the video game market, he surrounded himself with industry-savvy advisors. A believer in the razor and blades business model, he developed a four-point plan: cut the price of the console; create a US-based team to develop games targeted at the American market; continue and expand the aggressive advertising campaigns; and replace the bundled game, Altered Beast, with a new title, Sonic the Hedgehog. The Japanese board of directors initially disapproved of the plan but all four points were approved by Nakayama. Magazines praised Sonic as one of the greatest games yet made and Sega's console finally took off as customers who had been waiting for the SNES decided to purchase a Genesis instead. Nintendo's console debuted against an established competitor, while NEC's TurboGrafx-16 failed to gain traction and NEC soon pulled out of the market.

Sega began in 1992 with a number of advantages: a 55% to 45% market share over the Super NES, a lower price, and a tenfold advantage in number of games. Sega's advertising continued to position the Genesis as the "cooler" console, and at one point in its campaign, it used the term "Blast Processing" to suggest that the processing capabilities of the Genesis were far greater than those of the SNES. A Sony focus group found that teenage boys would not admit to owning a Super NES rather than a Genesis. Neither console could maintain a definitive lead in market share for several years, with Nintendo's share of the 16-bit machine business dipping down to 37% at the end of 1993, and Sega accounting for 55% of all 16-bit hardware sales during 1994.

In Europe the Mega Drive maintained support through 1998, where it managed to sell 8 million units, outselling all other consoles up through that time. Brazil also saw success with the Mega Drive, where it held 75% of the market share.

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