|Industry||Console Manufacturer, Publisher, Developer|
Sega is a multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1940, Sega has produced video game hardware since 1983, including the recent Sega Eclipse. Their primary competitor is Nintendo.
Sega had their start as "Service Games" in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1940. The company made coin-operated amusement machines for soldiers in the American military, such as slot machines. In 1951, Raymond Lemaire and Richard Stewart moved to Japan and began distributing their products to nearby American bases.
Meanwhile, in 1954, David Rosen, an American Air Force officer, started a business called Rosen Enterprises, which soon became Service Games's chief competitor. The two companies merged in 1965, and the combined company was named SEGA, or Sega. A year later, the company evolved from a distributor to a manufacturer of products. Under Rosen, Sega prospered, making various arcade games under the control of Gulf+Western, now known as Viacom.
Until Ohga Shrugs
By 1979, Sega's revenues climbed to over $100 million. In 1982, they released the arcade industry's first game with 3D effects, SubRoc-3D. The arcade crash of 1983 hurt Sega, but the company survived. In 1984, Rosen resigned, and after moving around from owner to owner, Sega ultimately ended up under the ownership of the CSK Holdings Corporation.
In 1983, Sega released their first home console, the SG-1000. The product was a modest success, and paved the way to the more popular Master System in 1985. The Master System was in direct competition with the Nintendo Entertainment System, and although it ultimately was less popular, actually sold better in European and Brazilian markets.
In 1984 Sega was Acquired by this Current owner, the Computer and Network Services company CSK Holding Corporation led by Isao Okawa, who bought the company from David Rosen and Hayao Nakayama and keep both as Regional CEO's of the Company
Sega's biggest success yet came in the form of the MegaDrive, better known in America as the Genesis. The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit system, a major step up from the earlier 8-bit systems of earlier times. Although initially released in Japan in late 1988, and in the West in 1989 and 1990, the Genesis initially had trouble finding widespread success outside of Europe until 1991's surprise hit Sonic the Hegehog. Made specifically as a new mascot for Sega, Sonic was considered the "cool" alternative to Nintendo's Mario. From that point on, Sega was considered a notable competitor to Nintendo outside of Japan.
Into the Next Generation
Throughout the rest of the Genesis's life, Sega released a number of peripherals for the system, including the 32X and Sega CD. These peripherals were meant to grant the Genesis a longer life, but were ultimately failures. Nevertheless, the Genesis ultimately proved to be a major hit, with over 30 million systems sold worldwide, compared to the Super Nintendo's 50 million.
In November 1994, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan, followed a year later by its Western release. Although the console was not originally intended to play 3D games, it had the capacity to do so. This, combined with the Saturn's then-high capacity CD-ROMs made it the platform of choice for many third party developers. Therefore, even though some Sega franchises such as Sonic never had a proper entry on the system, the Saturn was even more of a success than the Genesis, with hit series such as Virtua Fighter, Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider.
In late 1998, Sega purchased Camelot Software Planning, a longtime second party, to work on Sonic spinoff games.
In 2000, Sega released their sixth generation console, the Dreamcast. This system was another step up for Sega, selling a total of about 47 million units during its life. The Dreamcast was notable for having the first integrated online play on a gaming console, in addition to having more support than its chief competitor, the Nintendo GameCube.
The successful launch of Dreamcast would be later shadowed by the death of then-Sega Global CEO and Chairman, Isao Okawa in 2001, his death was considered a major point in the history of SEGA and of how the man who pushed Sega into the consoles business and thanks to company's success with Saturn, become one of Japan's richest men, only behind his old counterpart in Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi.
Isao Okawa would be replaced by Hisao Oguchi, then-director of AM3 as new President of Sega.
Ultimately, the Dreamcast was Sega's most successful system of all time, with nearly 50 million units sold.
Pluto and Beyond
On November 11, just one week before Nintendo released their Revolution, Sega released their seventh generation console, the Pluto. Although still successful, the Pluto only sold about half as many units as the Revolution, and less than either the Saturn or the Dreamcast, though more than the Genesis. This was due in part to a lack of powerful exclusive titles, as well as an online strategy that has had its critics.
Sega is one of the lead developers and publishers of the video game industry, though notably less so than their chief competitor, Nintendo. Their biggest franchise is Sonic the Hedgehog, a platforming series starring the eponymous hedgehog. The Sonic series is known for its trademark emphasis on the characters' speed, rather than the exploration or precision jumping of other platforming games. Sonic also appears in a number of spinoff and crossover games, notably the Sonic at the Olympics series.
Other Sega franchises have become more and less popular over time. They have included Virtua Fighter, a 3D fighting game, Daytonna USA, a racing series, Super Monkey Ball, a sort of platforming/action/party series, Nights, a 2.5D platforming series from the creators of Sonic, and 2K Sports, which makes a number of realistic sports games.
Sega has a number of studios that make software for their current systems. The following is a list of current Sega-owned studios and what recent games and series they are associated with.
- Hisao Oguchi - President (2001 to Present)
- Isao Okawa - President (2000 to 2001)
- Hayao Nakayama - Cofounder and President (1984 to 2000)
Sega of America
- Mike Hayes - CEO (2009 to Present)
- Simon Jeffery - (2007 to 2009)
- Peter Moore - President (1999 to 2007)
- Bernie Stolar - President (1996 to 1999)
- Tom Kalinske - President (1991 to 1996)
Sega of Europe