List of Sega video game consoles

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Sega is a Japanese multinational video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. Sega has developed and manufactured numerous video game consoles, both home consoles and handheld consoles, throughout its existence, primarily from 1983 to 2001. These consoles were released during the third through sixth console generations. Sega entered console development in order to transition from the arcade game industry during a downturn, and the first Sega console was the Japanese-only SG-1000, released in 1983. After releasing several variations of this console in Japan, in 1985 Sega rebranded their third version of the SG-1000, the Sega Mark III, as the Master System and released it worldwide. They went on to produce the Sega Genesis and its many variations and expansions beginning in 1988, the Sega Game Gear as their first handheld console in 1990, the Sega Saturn in 1994, and the Dreamcast in 1998. Several of the company's consoles were commercial failures, however, and the financial losses incurred from the Dreamcast console caused the company to restructure itself in 2001 and focus on providing software as a third-party video game developer, exiting mainstream console manufacturing completely.[1] The only console that Sega has produced since is the educational toy console Advanced Pico Beena in 2005. In addition to the consoles produced by Sega, numerous third-party console variations have been produced by other companies. Many of these variants have been produced in Brazil, where versions of the Master System and Genesis are still sold and games are still produced for the over 20-year-old consoles.

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[4]
  • Also known as the Sega Game 1000
  • Played ROM cartridges
  • Computer version with a built-in keyboard which played Sega Card games released as the SC-3000[5]
  • Not commercially successful, due to the number of consoles on the market already and the release of the Famicom by Nintendo on the same day[3]
Sega-SG-1000-Console-Set.jpg
SG-1000 II Third
  • Upgraded version of the SG-1000 with detachable controllers[6]
  • Could play Sega Card games in addition to ROM cartridges[3]
  • Computer version with a built-in keyboard which only played Sega Card games released as the SC-3000H[7]
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[3]
  • Played both Sega Card games and ROM cartridges[3]
  • Smaller and cheaper version of the console named the Master System II was released in 1990; it only played ROM cartridges and sold poorly[9]
  • Unsuccessfully competed with the Nintendo Famicom in Japan and North America, but was successful in Europe[9]
  • Still for sale in Brazil[13]
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
  • Played ROM cartridges
  • A computer with an integrated Mega Drive was released in Japan as the Sega TeraDrive in 1991[14]
  • A smaller, lighter version of the console named the Genesis II was released in 1993[18]
  • Handheld version of the console named the Sega Nomad that played the same cartridges released in 1995; an early version for use on Japanese airplanes was named the Mega Jet[19]
  • 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[20]
  • Although the system was officially discontinued in 1997, third-party variants have been released around the world as recently as 2009[21]
  • Outsold by its main competitors Nintendo's Super Famicom and NEC's PC Engine in Japan,[22] but was the highest seller of the generation in some other regions, such as the United States[23]
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
  • Added CD-ROM support as well as additional processing power[30]
  • Second version named the Sega CD 2 was released in 1993 to correspond with the second version of the Sega Genesis[32]
  • 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[33]
  • Sold poorly compared to the Sega Genesis itself[34]
Sega-CD-Model2-Set.jpg
Sega Pico Fourth
  • Video game console aimed at young children, released worldwide
  • Named the Kids Computer Pico in Japan
  • Played ROM cartridges shaped like books[40]
  • Controlled via a stylus and a graphics tablet, but did not have its own screen[40]
  • Sold very well in Japan but poorly elsewhere[36][41]
Kids Computer Pico-01.jpg
Sega 32X Fourth
  • Add-on for the Sega Genesis with its own exclusive library
  • Added additional processing power and support for 32-bit games to the 16-bit Genesis[45]
  • Played different ROM cartridges from the Sega Genesis itself[45]
  • 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[45]
  • Considered a commercial failure[43]
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
  • Played CD-ROM games
  • Released simultaneously with the Sega 32X, which also played 32-bit games
  • Sega NetLink accessory, released in 1996, provided internet and multiplayer gaming access; in Japan it used the SegaNet internet service[48]
  • Second version of the console with a built-in NetLink component codenamed Sega Pluto was planned but never released[50]
  • Considered a commercial failure; sold significantly fewer copies than its competitors the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64[51]
Sega-Saturn-Console-Set-Mk1.jpg
Dreamcast
  • WW March 30, 2001[54]
Sixth
  • Sega's fifth and final major home console and only major release in the sixth console generation, released worldwide
  • Played CD-ROM games
  • Included a built-in modem, which could connect to the SegaNet internet service in Japan and North America and the Dreamarena service in Europe[55]
  • VMU accessory served as a combination memory card, second screen, and simple handheld console[56]
  • Considered a commercial failure; sold significantly fewer copies than its main competitor the Sony PlayStation 2 due to a poor Japanese launch and lack of DVD support[57]
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[38]
  • Plays ROM cartridges shaped like books[38]
  • Still being produced
Advanced Pico Beena.jpg

Third-party variants[edit]

In addition to the consoles developed by Sega itself, there have been numerous variations produced by other companies both under license and not. The Master System was the first Sega console to receive third-party versions. Tectoy made a variation in Brazil known as the Master System 3 Compact which was capable of functioning wirelessly with an RF transmitter, while they also sought to appeal to female gamers in Brazil with the Master System Girl, which 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.[58] Another Master System, built as a handheld game console, was released under several brands including Coleco in 2006.[59]

The Sega Genesis was the first Sega console to receive third-party versions. Working with Sega of Japan, JVC released the Wondermega, a Genesis and Sega CD combination with high quality audio, on April 1, 1992, in Japan. The system was later redesigned by JVC and released as the X'Eye in North America in September 1994.[60] The Pioneer LaserActive had an add-on known as the Mega-LD pack, developed by Sega, in order to play Genesis and Sega CD games.[61] Aiwa also released the CSD-GM1, a combination Genesis/Sega CD unit built into a boombox. Several companies added the Mega Drive 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.[3] After the Genesis was discontinued, Majesco Entertainment released the Genesis 3 as a budget version of the console in 1998.[62]

In Brazil, where the Mega Drive never ceased production, on December 5, 2007, Tec Toy released a portable version of the Mega Drive with twenty built-in games.[63] Another version of the console called "Mega Drive Guitar Idol" comes with two six-button joypads and a guitar controller with five fret buttons.[64] In 2009, AtGames began producing two new variations: the Firecore, which can play original Genesis cartridges as well as preloaded games, and a handheld console, the Sega Zone, preloaded with 20 Genesis games.[65] Numerous companies, including Radica Games, have also released various compilations of Genesis and Mega Drive games in "plug-and-play" packages resembling the system's controller.[66]

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