Sega Corporation(JP)(CN) is a video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company is owned by Sega Sammy Holdings. The name "Sega" is a portmanteau of "Service Games".
Sega's association with Nintendo goes back to 1976, when Sega introduced Wild Gunman and Shooting Trainer to North American players. The two were also competitors in the home game console business until Sega left the business in 2001.
The modern incarnation of Sega was established in 1965, when a company named Nihon Goraku Bussan Inc.(JP) acquired another company known as Rosen Enterprises to form Sega Enterprises, Ltd.(JP). This would be Sega's full name until 2000.
Association with Nintendo
Sega introduced two of Nintendo's arcade titles to North American players in 1976 - Wild Gunman and Shooting Trainer. Nintendo would create Head On N (1979), a licensed clone of Sega's arcade game Head On (1979). Space Firebird would be the last of Nintendo's arcade games Sega would release in North America, and it would be released through Sega-Gremlin.
There were two periods during Sega's time in the console business where other publishers released licensed ports of Sega's games for Nintendo's gaming systems. Between 1987 and 1990, six Famicom games and two Game Boy games released in Japan had licenses from Sega and were approved by Nintendo. The Famicom licensees were Sunsoft, Takara, and Asmik, while the Game Boy licensees were Pony Canyon and Tecmo. Between 1998 and 2000, six Game Boy Color games, one Super Famicom game, and one Nintendo 64 game which were all exclusively released in Japan had licenses from Sega and were approved by Nintendo. Compile was the licensee for four of the Game Boy Color games and the Nintendo 64 game, while Media Factory was the licensee for the other two Game Boy Color games and the Super Famicom game.
Sega would collaborate with Nintendo and Namco to develop the Triforce arcade system. Sega would also go on to develop and distribute arcade titles using Nintendo's franchises, including F-Zero AX and Rhythm Tengoku.
Competition with Nintendo
Sega entered the home console market around the time Nintendo released the Family Computer (Famicom). Its first gaming systems were the SC-3000, a computer with a built-in keyboard, and the SG-1000, a console that Sega began developing after learning of Nintendo's plans to make a games-only console. Sega released both systems in Japan on July 15, 1983, the same day Nintendo released the Famicom. Although the SG-1000 chalked up 160,000 units in sales partly due to a recall on Famicom units necessitated by a faulty circuit, it didn't come close to the Famicom in sales. Sega's second console, the Sega Mark III, would also struggle in Japan due to Nintendo's licensing practices with third-party developers at the time; Nintendo required that titles for the Famicom not be published on other consoles. The struggle would continue in North America when Sega released a re-branded version of the Mark III as the Master System.
Sega's launch of their third console, the Mega Drive, in Japan was overshadowed by Nintendo's release of Super Mario Bros. 3 six days earlier. When the Mega Drive was released in the U.S. the following year, its name was changed to "Sega Genesis". Sega of America instituted an approach to build sales in the region; part of the approach involved a marketing campaign to challenge Nintendo head-on with slogans like "Genesis does what Nintendon't", advertising that positioned the Genesis as the "cooler" console, and terms like "blast processing" to suggest that its processing capabilities were far greater than those of Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Parts of this new plan would carry over to Sega's Game Gear, a handheld console that would compete with Nintendo's Game Boy. Sega's Game Gear ads touted the system's color. Other parts of Sega of America's strategy involved cutting the price of the Genesis and replacing the game bundled with the system at the time with a new game, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog was developed partly out of Sega's desire to create a flagship series that could compete with Nintendo's Mario series. In large part due to the popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Sega Genesis outsold its main competitor, Nintendo's SNES, in the United States nearly two to one during the 1991 holiday season.
Although the Genesis did not end up outselling the SNES in its lifetime, Sega was able to outsell Nintendo four Christmas seasons in a row. The Master System would also eventually outsell the NES by a considerable margin in Europe and Brazil. The Game Gear would not have the same success as the Game Boy, however, due to selling only 11 million units.
Shift to third party development
The events that led to Sega's eventual shift to third party development began with the botched launch of their successor to the Mega Drive, the Sega Saturn, in the U.S. The Saturn achieved success early in its lifetime in Japan due to Virtua Fighter being bundled with the system and it would end up selling more units than the Nintendo 64. For the Saturn's American launch, however, Sega of Japan mandated an earlier launch date than what was planned to give the system an advantage over Sony's PlayStation. The events that followed led to fractured relationships between Sega and retailers, multiple price reductions of the Saturn, and financial loss.
The continuous expenses that came with the release of their Dreamcast console, however, was what finally pushed Sega to move to third party development. On January 23, 2001, a story ran in Nihon Keizai Shimbun claiming that Sega would cease production of the Dreamcast and develop software for other platforms. After initial denial, Sega of Japan put out a press release confirming they were considering producing software for the PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance as part of their "new management policy". On January 31, 2001, Sega announced the discontinuation of the Dreamcast after March 31 and the restructuring of the company as a "platform-agnostic" third-party developer. The Dreamcast was eventually cleared out of stores after a series of price reductions.
- Sega CS1 R&D (includes Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)
- Sega CS2 R&D (includes Sonic Team)
- Sega AM1 (Arcade games)
- Sega AM2 (Arcade games)
- Atlus (2013 -)
- Visual Concepts (1999- 2005)
- Creative Assembly (2005 - )
- Sports Interactive (2006 - )
- Two Point Studios (2019 - )
Games released by Sega for Nintendo systems
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Super Monkey Ball
- Football Manager
- Hatsune Miku
- Phantasy Star
- Puyo Puyo (acquired from Compile)