List of Sega video game consoles

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Sega is a video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. The company has produced home video game consoles and handheld consoles since 1983; these systems were released from the third console generation to the sixth. Sega was formed from the merger of slot machine developer Service Games and arcade game manufacturer Rosen Enterprises in 1964, and it produced arcade games for the next two decades. After a downturn in the arcade game industry in the 1980s, the company transitioned to developing and publishing video games and consoles.[1] The first Sega console was the Japan-only SG-1000, released in 1983. Sega released several variations of this console in Japan, the third of which, the Sega Mark III, was rebranded as the Master System and released worldwide in 1985. They went on to produce the Sega Genesis and its add-ons beginning in 1988, the Sega Game Gear handheld console in 1990, the Sega Saturn in 1994, and the Dreamcast in 1998.

Sega was one of the primary competitors to Nintendo in the video game console industry. A few of Sega's early consoles outsold their competitors in specific markets, such as the Master System in Europe and the Sega Genesis in North America. Several of the company's later consoles were commercial failures, however, and the financial losses incurred from the Dreamcast console caused the company to restructure itself in 2001. As a result, Sega ceased to manufacture consoles and became a third-party video game developer.[2] The only console that Sega has produced since is the educational toy console Advanced Pico Beena in 2005. Third-party variants of Sega consoles have been produced by licensed manufacturers, even after production of the original consoles had ended. Many of these variants have been produced in Brazil, where versions of the Master System and Genesis are still sold and games for them are still developed.

Consoles[edit]

Console Release date(s) Discontinuation date(s) Generation Notes Picture
SG-1000 Third
  • Sega's first home console, created in an attempt to transition from the arcade game industry[5]
  • Also known as the Sega Game 1000
  • Plays ROM cartridges
  • Computer version with a built-in keyboard which plays Sega Card games released as the SC-3000[6]
  • Not commercially successful, because of the number of consoles on the market already and the release of the Famicom by Nintendo on the same day[4]
Sega-SG-1000-Console-Set.jpg
SG-1000 II Third
  • Upgraded version of the SG-1000 with detachable controllers[7]
  • Can play Sega Card games in addition to ROM cartridges[4]
  • Computer version with a built-in keyboard which only plays Sega Card games released as the SC-3000H[8]
Sega SG-1000 II.JPG
Master System Third
  • Sega's second major home console, released worldwide
  • Initially released in Japan as the Sega Mark III, the third version of the SG-1000, before being redesigned and rebranded as the Master System[4]
  • Plays both Sega Card games and ROM cartridges[4]
  • Smaller and cheaper version of the console named the Master System II was released in 1990; it only plays ROM cartridges and sold poorly[10]
  • Unsuccessfully competed with the Nintendo Famicom in Japan and North America, but was commercially successful in Europe[10]
  • Still for sale in Brazil[14]
Sega-Master-System-Set.jpg
Sega Genesis Fourth
  • Sega's third major home console, after the SG-1000 and Master System; released worldwide
  • Named the Mega Drive outside of the United States
  • Plays ROM cartridges
  • A computer with an integrated Mega Drive was released in Japan as the Sega TeraDrive in 1991[15]
  • A smaller, lighter version of the console named the Genesis II was released in 1993[19]
  • The Sega Nomad, a handheld version of the console that plays the same cartridges, released in 1995; an early version for use on Japanese airplanes was named the Mega Jet[20]
  • The Sega Meganet Internet service in Japan with the Mega Modem peripheral provided downloadable titles, some exclusive to the service, starting in 1990; it was replaced with the similar Sega Channel service in 1993[21]
  • Although the system was officially discontinued in 1997, third-party variants have been released around the world as recently as 2009[22]
  • Outsold by its main competitors Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine in Japan,[23] but was the highest seller of the generation in some other regions, such as the United States[24]
Sega-Mega-Drive-JP-Mk1-Console-Set.jpg
Sega Game Gear Fourth Game-Gear-Handheld.jpg
Sega CD Fourth
  • Add-on device for the Sega Genesis with its own exclusive library
  • Adds CD-ROM support as well as more processing power[31]
  • Second version named the Sega CD 2 was released in 1993 to correspond with the second version of the Sega Genesis[33]
  • Portable combination of the Sega Genesis and Sega CD named the Sega Genesis CDX in the United States and the Sega Multi-Mega elsewhere released in 1994[34]
  • Sold poorly compared to the Sega Genesis itself[35]
Sega-CD-Model2-Set.jpg
Sega Pico Fourth Kids Computer Pico-01.jpg
Sega 32X Fourth
  • Add-on for the Sega Genesis with its own exclusive library
  • Adds more processing power and support for 32-bit games to the 16-bit Genesis[46]
  • Plays different ROM cartridges from the Sega Genesis itself[46]
  • Combination release of the Sega Genesis and the Sega 32X named the Sega Neptune was planned for release in late 1995, but was delayed and then cancelled when the 32X was discontinued[46]
  • Considered a commercial failure[44]
Sega-Genesis-Model2-32X.jpg
Sega Saturn Fifth
  • Sega's fourth major home console and only release in the 32-bit console generation, released worldwide
  • Plays CD-ROM games
  • Released simultaneously with the Sega 32X, which also plays 32-bit games
  • Sega NetLink accessory, released in 1996, provided Internet and multiplayer gaming access; in Japan it used the SegaNet Internet service[49]
  • Second version of the console codenamed Sega Pluto, with a built-in NetLink component, was planned but never released[51]
  • Considered a commercial failure; sold significantly fewer copies than its competitors the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64[52]
Sega-Saturn-Console-Set-Mk1.jpg
Dreamcast
  • WW March 30, 2001[55]
Sixth
  • Sega's fifth and final major home console and only major release in the sixth console generation, released worldwide
  • Plays CD-ROM games
  • Includes a built-in modem, which could connect to the SegaNet Internet service in Japan and North America and the Dreamarena service in Europe[56]
  • VMU accessory serves as a combination memory card, second screen, and simple handheld console[57]
  • Considered a commercial failure; sold significantly fewer copies than its main competitor the Sony PlayStation 2 because of a poor Japanese launch and lack of DVD support[58]
Dreamcast-Console-Set.jpg
Advanced Pico Beena N/A Sixth
  • Video game console aimed at young children, released only in Japan
  • Successor to the 1993 Sega Pico[39]
  • Plays ROM cartridges shaped like books[39]
  • Cheaper version named the Beena Lite was released in 2008.[59]
  • Still being produced
Advanced Pico Beena.jpg

Third-party variants[edit]

Licensed and unlicensed variants of Sega consoles have been produced by third-party companies. In Brazil, Tectoy created and released the Master System 3 Compact, which may function wirelessly with an RF transmitter. An SKU of this console targeted at female gamers, the Master System Girl, was molded in bright pink plastic. A more recent version, released in 2006 in Brazil as the Master System 3 Collection, contains 120 built-in games.[60] Another Master System variant, built as a handheld game console, was released by Coleco in North America in 2006.[61]

The Sega Genesis was the first Sega console to receive third-party versions. Its first variants were released before any Master System variants, even though the Genesis was released three years after the Master System. Working with Sega of Japan, JVC released the Wondermega, a Genesis and Sega CD combination with high quality audio, in Japan on April 1, 1992. The system was later redesigned by JVC and released as the X'Eye in North America in September 1994.[62] A Pioneer LaserActive add-on pack, developed by Sega, allows the system to play Genesis and Sega CD games.[63] Aiwa released the CSD-GM1, a combination Genesis/Sega CD unit built into a boombox. Several companies added the Genesis to personal computers, mimicking the design of Sega's TeraDrive; these include the MSX models AX-330 and AX-990 distributed in Kuwait and Yemen, and the Amstrad Mega PC distributed in Europe and Australia.[4] After the Genesis was discontinued, Majesco Entertainment released the Genesis 3 in North America as a budget version of the console in 1998.[64] Majesco also released a budget version of the Sega Pico in North America in August 1999.[65]

In Brazil, where the Genesis never ceased production, Tectoy released a portable version of the Genesis with twenty built-in games on December 5, 2007.[66] Another Tectoy variant of the console called "Mega Drive Guitar Idol", released in 2009 in Brazil, includes two six-button joypads and a guitar controller with five fret buttons.[67] That year, AtGames began producing two new Genesis variants in North America and Europe: the Firecore, which can play Genesis cartridges as well as preloaded games; and a handheld console, the Sega Zone, preloaded with 20 Genesis games.[68] Companies such as Radica Games have released compilations of Genesis games in "plug-and-play" packages resembling the system's controller.[69]

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