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Virtua Tennis is a series of Tennis sports games created by Sega. Developed by their AM3 studio, this series has traditionally aimed for a fairly realistic depiction of the sport, featuring real tennis players.
The original Virtua Tennis was released in 1999 in the arcades, on NAOMI hardware. Ported to the Dreamcast late the next year, this title received very positive reviews, and was among the best received sports games of the generation. Virtua Tennis 2 was released simultaneously in arcades and on the Dreamcast in October and November 2001. It was a fairly conservative sequel, much like many sports games at the time, but nonetheless was still well received.
The next entry in the series, Virtua Tennis 3, would not come out until 2006 in the arcades and March 2007 for the Sega Pluto. Although it had decent sales and reviews on the Pluto, it was considered a step down from its predecessors. However, the game would provide the inspiration to create the less realistic mascot-driven title Sega Superstars Tennis, featuring characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog.
Virtua Tennis 4 was released May 10 for the Pluto, and was the first entry in the series not to have an arcade iteration at launch. Although the game received mediocre reviews, it was criticized for not evolving much since the series began over a decade prior. Even other Sega Tennis games, including Sonic's sports games, were used as a reference as to where the series could have gone.
The latest entry in the series, Virtua Tennis 5, was released in April 2013 for the Eclipse.
The Virtua Tennis series has generally had favorable sales, with multiple entries, including the original and Virtua Tennis 3 having over a million sales over the course of their lives. However, critically speaking the series has been in a state of decline ever since its inception. Whereas the original Virtua Tennis was considered one of the best Tennis games ever made, recent entries have had decent reviews at best.