Sega

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This article is about the video game company. For other uses, see Sega (disambiguation).
Sega Corporation
Native name 株式会社セガ
Type Subsidiary
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Video games
Arcade games
Third party publisher
Founded Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. (1940 (1940), as Service Games)
Founders Martin Bromely
Irving Bromberg
James Humpert
David Rosen
Headquarters Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
Number of locations International Offices:
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Brentford, Greater London, United Kingdom
Seoul, South Korea
Vancouver, Canada
Moscow, Russia
Area served Worldwide
Key people Hajime Satomi
(Chairman and CEO)
Naoya Tsurumi
(President and COO)
Jürgen Post
(CEO, Sega Europe)
John Cheng
(CEO, Sega of America)
Products Games
Sonic the Hedgehog series
Phantasy Star series
Shining series
Puyo Puyo series
Virtua Fighter series
The House of the Dead series
Sakura Wars series
Valkyria Chronicles series
Super Monkey Ball series
Yakuza series
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA series
Shinobi series
Game consoles
SG-1000
Master System
Mega Drive/Genesis
Game Gear
Mega-CD
Sega 32X
Saturn
Dreamcast
Revenue Increase ¥396.7 billion (2011) US$4.9 billion
Net income Increase ¥41.5 billion (2011) US$512.857 million
Owners Independent
(1940 (1940)–1969 (1969))
Gulf+Western (Viacom)
(1969 (1969)–1984 (1984))
Bally Manufacturing
(1984)
CSK Holdings Corporation
(1984 (1984)–2004 (2004))
Sega Sammy Holdings (2004 (2004)–present)
Employees 2,208 (FY 2013)
Parent Sega Sammy Holdings
Subsidiaries Sonic Team
The Creative Assembly
Relic Entertainment
Sports Interactive
Atlus
Index Corporation
Three Rings Design
Website Sega Corporation (Japan)
Sega of America
Sega Europe
PlaySega

The Sega Corporation (株式会社セガ Kabushiki gaisha Sega?), and usually styled as SEGA, is a Japanese multinational video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. Sega developed and manufactured numerous home video game consoles from 1983 to 2001, but the financial losses incurred from their Dreamcast console caused the company to restructure itself in 2001, and focus on providing software as a third-party developer, exiting console manufacturing completely.[1] However, arcade development would continue unaffected. Sega, along with their many software studios, are known for multi-million-selling game franchises including Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtua Fighter, Phantasy Star, Yakuza, and Total War.

Sega's head offices, as well as the main office of its domestic division, Sega Corporation, formerly known as the Sega Enterprises, Ltd. (株式会社セガ・エンタープライゼス Kabushiki gaisha Sega Entāpuraizesu?), are located in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan. Sega's European division, Sega Europe Ltd., is headquartered in the Brentford area of London in the United Kingdom. Sega's North American division, Sega of America Inc., is headquartered in San Francisco, having moved there from Redwood City, California in 1999.[2][3] Sega Publishing Korea is headquartered in Jongno, Seoul, Korea. Sega's Australian & European operations outside of the United Kingdom closed on July 1, 2012 due to world economic pressures. Distribution of Sega products in Australia as of 1 July 2012 is handled by Five Star Games, made up of all the redundant employees from Sega Australia.[4]

History[edit]

Company origins (1940–1982)[edit]

SEGA Diamond 3 Star

Sega's roots can be traced back to a company based in Honolulu, Hawaii named Service Games, which began operations in 1940. In 1951, Raymond Lemaire and Richard Stewart moved the company to Tokyo, Japan to develop and distribute coin-operated jukeboxes, games, and slot machines. Within a few years Service Games began importing these machines to American military bases throughout Japan.

In 1954, David Rosen, an American officer in the Air Force, launched a two-minute photo booth business in Tokyo. This company eventually became Rosen Enterprises, and in 1957 began importing coin-operated games to Japan. By 1965, Rosen Enterprises grew to a chain of over 200 arcades, with Service Games its only competitor. Rosen then orchestrated a merger between Rosen Enterprises and Service Games, who by then had their own factory facilities, becoming chief executive of the new company, Sega Enterprises, which derived its name from the first two letters of SErvice GAmes.[5]

Within a year, Sega began the transition from importer to manufacturer, with the release of the Rosen designed submarine simulator game Periscope. The game at that time sported innovative light and sound effects, eventually becoming quite successful in Japan. It was soon exported to both Europe and the United States, becoming the first arcade game in America to cost 25¢ per play.[5]

In 1969, Rosen sold Sega to Gulf+Western which also owned Paramount Pictures which later became Paramount Communications Inc. (whose media properties had since been absorbed by Viacom), remaining on however as CEO of the Sega division. Under Rosen's leadership, Sega continued to grow and prosper, and in 1972 G&W made Sega Enterprises a subsidiary, and took the company public. Sega's current logo dates back to 1976. In 1976, they released a large screen TV, Sega-Vision (not to be confused with their portable media player, Sega Vision).[6] Sega prospered heavily from the arcade gaming boom of the late 1970s, with revenues climbing to over $100 million by 1979.[5]

Entry into the home console market (1982–1989)[edit]

In 1982, Sega's revenues would surpass $214 million, and they introduced the industry's first three-dimensional game, SubRoc 3D. The following year, an overabundance of arcade games led to the video game crash, causing Sega's revenues to drop to $136 million. Sega then pioneered the use of laser disks in the video game Astronbelt, and designed and released its first home video game console, the SG-1000 for the second generation of home consoles. Despite this, G&W sold the U.S. assets of Sega Enterprises that same year to pinball manufacturer Bally Manufacturing, and in January 1984 Rosen resigned his post with the company.

The Japanese assets of Sega were purchased for $38 million by a group of investors led by Rosen, Robert Deith, and Hayao Nakayama, a Japanese businessman who owned Esco Boueki (Esco Trading) an arcade game distribution company[7] that had been acquired by Rosen in 1979. Nakayama became the new CEO of Sega, Robert Deith Chairman of the Board, and Rosen became head of its subsidiary in the United States.

In 1984, the multibillion dollar Japanese conglomerate CSK bought Sega, renamed it to Sega Enterprises Ltd., headquartered it in Japan, and two years later, shares of its stock were being traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. David Rosen's friend, Isao Okawa, the chairman of CSK, became chairman of Sega.

In 1986, Sega of America was poised to take advantage of the resurgent video game market in the United States.

Sega would also release the Sega Master System and the first Alex Kidd game, who would be Sega's unofficial mascot until 1991, when Sonic the Hedgehog took over. While the Master System was technically superior to the NES,[8] it failed to capture market share in North America and Japan due to highly aggressive strategies by Nintendo and ineffective marketing by Tonka (which marketed the console on behalf of SEGA in the United States). However, the Master System was highly successful in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil with games still being sold well into the 1990s alongside the Megadrive and Nintendo's NES and SNES.

Expansion (1989–2001)[edit]

Sega Genesis[edit]

Main article: Sega Genesis
Sega Genesis, second North American version.
Sonic the Hedgehog has been Sega's mascot since the character's introduction in 1991.

With the introduction of the Sega Genesis in America, Sega of America launched an anti-Nintendo campaign to carry the momentum to the new generation of games, with its slogan "Genesis does what Nintendon't." This was initially implemented by Sega of America President Michael Katz.[9] When Nintendo launched its Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, Sega changed its slogan to "Welcome to the next level."

The same year, Sega of America's leadership passed from Michael Katz to Tom Kalinske, who further escalated the "console war" that was developing.[10] As a preemptive strike against the release of the SNES, Sega re-branded itself with a new game and mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. This shift led to a wider success for the Genesis and would eventually propel Sega to 65% of the market in North America for a brief time. Simultaneously, after much previous delay, Sega released the moderately successful Mega-CD as an add-on feature, allowing for extra storage in games due to their CD-ROM format, giving developers the ability to make longer, more sophisticated games, the most popular of which was Sega's own Sonic CD.[11] Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also released at this time, and became the most successful game Sega ever made,[12] selling six million copies as of June 2006.[12]

In 1994, Sega released the Sega 32X in an attempt to upgrade the Mega Drive to the standards of more advanced systems. It sold well initially, but had problems with lack of software and hype about the upcoming Sega Saturn and Sony's PlayStation.[13] Within a year, it was in the bargain bins of many stores.[14] Also in 1994, Sega launched the Sega Channel, a subscription gaming service delivered by local cable companies affiliated with Time-Warner Cable, or TCI, through which subscribers received a special cartridge adapter that connected to the cable connection. At its peak, the Sega Channel had approximately 250,000 subscribers.[15]

Sega versus Accolade[edit]

In 1992, Sega lost the Sega v. Accolade case, which involved independently produced software for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console. Accolade had copied a small amount of Sega's code to achieve compatibility with the Sega Genesis platform. The verdict set a precedent that copyrights do not extend to non-expressive content in software for which a system is required to run the software.[16] The case in question stems from the nature of the console video game market. Hardware companies often sell their systems at or below cost, and rely on other revenue streams such as in this case, game licensing. Sega was attempting to "lock out" game companies from making Mega Drive games unless they paid Sega a fee (something its competition has done in the past). Their strategy was to make the hardware reject any cartridge that did not include a Sega trademark. If an unlicensed company included this trademark in their game, Sega could sue the company for trademark infringement. Though Sega lost this lawsuit, all later Sega systems seemed to incorporate similar hardware requirements.[citation needed]

Saturn[edit]

Main article: Sega Saturn
A "Round Button" Sega Saturn

On May 11, 1995, Sega released the Sega Saturn (with Virtua Fighter) in the American market. Sega's first CD console that was not an add on, utilized two 32-bit processors and preceded both the Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo 64. However, poor sales in the West (including the traditional stronghold markets in Europe) led to the console being abandoned.[17] The lack of a strong Sonic title (and titles based on other Genesis franchises) and its high price in comparison to the PlayStation were among the reasons for the failure of the console.[18] Notable titles include several titles exclusive to the Japanese market, like Radiant Silvergun and Sakura Taisen, involving fighting games like Last Bronx, rail shooters, such as Panzer Dragoon and The House of the Dead and a few well regarded RPGs; Panzer Dragoon Saga, Grandia, Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean, Shining Force III, Dragon Force, Shining Wisdom, Shining the Holy Ark and Magic Knight Rayearth. Tomb Raider was initially developed with the Sega Saturn in mind, but was quickly ported to the Sony PlayStation. With the Saturn's failure to attract the greater market share, development for the sequels were focused on Sony's console, and Lara Croft ironically became an unofficial mascot for the system.[19]

In 1997, Sega entered into a short-lived merger with Bandai. However it was later called off, citing "cultural differences" between the two companies.[20] Entertainment fun center GameWorks was founded in 1997 as well as the now defunct SegaWorld theme parks.

Dreamcast[edit]

Main article: Dreamcast
Japanese/American Sega Dreamcast and European Controller with VMU. Notice the different color swirls

On November 27, 1998, Sega launched the Dreamcast game console, Sega's final console, in Japan. The Dreamcast was competitively priced, partly due to the use of off-the-shelf components, but it also featured technology that allowed for more technically impressive games than its direct competitors, the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. An analog 56k modem was also included, allowing gamers to play multi-player games online. Featuring titles such as the action-puzzle title ChuChu Rocket!, Phantasy Star Online, the first console-based MMORPG, "Quake 3 Arena" and the innovative Alien Front Online, the first console game with online voice chat.

Sega also converted their In-house R&D departments, AM1, AM2, AM3 etc. into 2nd party studios, resulting into the establishment of Wow Entertainment, Amusement Vision, Hitmaker, Smilebit, Sega Rosso, and United Game Artists.

The Dreamcast's launch in Japan was a failure. Launching with a small library of software and in the shadow of the upcoming PS2, the system would not gain great success, despite several successful games in the region. The Western launch a year later was accompanied by a large amount of both first-party and third-party software and an aggressive marketing campaign. It was extremely successful and earned the distinction of "most successful hardware launch in history," selling a then-unprecedented 500,000 consoles in its first week in North America.[21] On November 1, 2000, Sega changed its company name from Sega Enterprises, Ltd. to Sega Corporation.[22] Sega was able to hold onto this momentum in the US almost until the launch of Sony's PlayStation 2. The Dreamcast is home to several innovative and critically acclaimed games of the time, including one of the first cel-shaded titles, Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio in North America); Seaman, a game involving communication with a fish-type creature via microphone; Samba de Amigo, a rhythm game involving the use of maracas, and Shenmue, an adventure game of vast scope with freeform gameplay and a striking attempt at creating a detailed in-game city.

Faced with debt and competition from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast hardware in 2001. The final game Sega released for it was Puyo Puyo Fever in 2004.

Shift to third-party software developer (2001–2005)[edit]

In late 1999, Sega Enterprises Chairman Isao Okawa spoke at an Okawa Foundation meeting, saying that Sega's focus in the future would shift from hardware to software, but adding that they were still fully behind the Dreamcast. On January 23, 2001, a story ran in Nihon Keizai Shimbun that said Sega was going to cease production of the Dreamcast and develop software for other platforms.[23] After the initial denial, Sega Japan then put out a press release confirming they were considering producing software for PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance as part of their "New Management Policy".[24][25] Then on January 31, 2001, Sega of America officially announced they were becoming a third-party software publisher.[1]

The company has since developed primarily into a platform-neutral software company, known as a "third-party publisher", that creates games that will launch on a variety of game consoles produced by other companies, many of their former rivals, the first of which was a port of ChuChu Rocket! to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance.

Arcade units are still being produced, first under the Sega NAOMI name, and then with subsequent releases of the Sega NAOMI 2, Sega Hikaru, Sega Chihiro, Triforce (in collaboration with Nintendo and Namco), Sega Lindbergh, and more recently, RingEdge.

Sega's financial trouble in the 1998–2002 time periods. This financial data came from their Annual Reports.[26][27][28][29]

By March 31, 2002, Sega had five consecutive fiscal years of net losses.[30] To help with Sega's debt, CSK founder Isao Okawa, before his death in 2001, gave the company a $695.7 million private donation,[31] and also talked to Microsoft about a sale or a merger with their Xbox division, but those talks failed.[32] On February 13, 2003, Sega announced plans to merge with Sammy, but plans fell through.[contradiction] Discussions also took place with Namco, Bandai, Electronic Arts and again with Microsoft.

The shift to software development affected Sega's Australian operations. Sega Ozisoft ceased to operate in its current form with Sega Enterprises selling its share in Sega Ozisoft and was bought over by Infogrames in 2002. This led to Infogrames having an Australian presence for the first time but decided to change the company name for its Australian operations to GameNation. Sega then went to find an Australian distributor, and made a deal with THQ Asia Pacific, who at the time until 2006 had deals with Capcom. In 2003 GameNation was changed to Atari Australia and then challenged THQ Asia Pacific to the distribution rights to Sega's IP's in Australia but failed. In early 2008 Sega Corporation announced that Sega would re-establish an Australian presence, effectively ending THQ's distribution of Sega's products in Australia and would be a subsidiary of Sega of Europe, rather than being a separate local subsidiary like Atari Australia, Nintendo Australia and THQ Asia Pacific.

In August 2003, Sammy bought the outstanding 22% of shares that CSK had,[33] and Sammy chairman Hajime Satomi became CEO of Sega. With the Sammy chairman at the helm of Sega, it has been stated that Sega's activity will focus on its profit-making arcade business rather than its loss-making home software development. In late December, Sega released Sonic Heroes selling over 2 million copies. It was the first multi-platform Sonic game, with identical versions on the Xbox, the PlayStation 2, and the GameCube.

In 2003, Wow Entertainment and Overworks were merged, as well as Sonic Team with United Game Artists and Hitmaker with Sega Rosso.

On July 1, 2004, Sega's 2nd party studios, Wow Entertainment, Amusement Vision, Hitmaker, Smilebit, Sega Rosso, United Game Artists and AM2 were reintegrated into Sega again, following the Sega-Sammy merger.

During mid-2004, Sammy bought a controlling share in Sega Corporation at a cost of $1.1 billion, creating the new company Sega Sammy Holdings, one of the biggest game manufacturing companies in the world.

On January 25, 2005, Sega's Visual Concepts, a studio Sega dubbed a "1.5" developer, was sold to Take-Two Interactive. Sega used the parlance "1.5" as a midpoint of sorts between first-party and second-party developer status: that is, a wholly owned studio that would otherwise be known as a first-party developer, but was outside of internal development teams. Visual Concepts was known for many Sega Sports games including the ESPN NFL Football series, formerly NFL2K. The sale also came with Visual Concept's wholly owned subsidiary Kush Games. Take Two subsequently announced the start of the publishing label 2K Games because of this purchase.

2005–present[edit]

By the end of 2005, Sega experienced strong earnings growth across multiple divisions. Contributing to the company's success were strong Arcade sales and sales of software titles Ryu ga Gotoku (known as Yakuza outside of Asia).[citation needed]

In an effort to appeal to western tastes, they partnered with Obsidian Entertainment to develop a new RPG for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC based on the Aliens franchise, which was subsequently cancelled.[34] The partnership was the latest in a series of collaborations with western video game studios, including Monolith Productions (Condemned: Criminal Origins), Bizarre Creations (The Club), and Silicon Knights (The Ritualyst, cancelled[35][36]).

That desire to have a more Western appeal for Sega was shortly followed up by Sega acquiring British developer Sports Interactive after a successful run of publishing Football Manager 2005 and 2006, in which they managed to sell 1.5 million copies,[37] the deal was said to be worth in the region of £30 million ($52 million) by Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive's Managing Director.[38] This was, however, not the only developer Sega acquired, as they also purchased American developer Secret Level. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed,[39] Secret Level had begun work before being bought by Sega to "recreate a classic Sega franchise" for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in July 2005, which was revealed to be Golden Axe: Beast Rider later that year.

While Sega continued its expansion in the West, on May 8, 2006, it was announced that Sega of Japan had begun helping famed Sega developer and Sonic Team head Yuji Naka (known for being the main programmer for the original Sonic the Hedgehog games and Nights into Dreams...) to start up his own company titled "Prope" (Latin for "beside" and "near future")[40] in which Sega helped provide 10% startup capital[41] and have the option to publish games produced from the studio if they wished to.

Due to the continued success of Sega's software sales, the company reported on May 17, 2006 a 31% rise in net profits from that of the previous year of the period ending March 31, 2006, being posted at ¥66.2 billion ($577 million), as well as an increase in operating profit growing by 13% from the previous year, being posted at ¥553.2 billion ($4.82 billion).[42] Notable titles to have helped Sega increase profits in the West, such as Shadow the Hedgehog (which sold over a million copies)[43] and Sonic Riders, while in Japan, games such as Yakuza, Mushiking, and Brain Trainer Portable continued to have strong sales.

Although Sega seemed poised to continue increasing profits, the company reported a massive drop of 93% profits for the period ending June 30, 2006 compared to the same period the previous year. Net income for the company dropped from $98.3 million (a year earlier) to $7.12 million for this period as well as total sales dropping from $926.5 million to $809.1 million,[44] Sega reported that the decrease in profits was due to no significant big releases by its slot machine division.

Despite this, Sega reported in November a massive 52% rise in profits for the periods between April and September 2006, compared to the same period last year.[45] Software sales for the company had also increased with 5.75 million. Of those units, 1.76 million were sold in Japan, 1.59 million in Europe, 2.36 million in the US, and 30,000 in other regions.[46] a number of titles were said to have performed well, in particular Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll for the Nintendo DS and Football Manager 2006 for the Xbox 360 having sold well. While Sega performed better in 2006, they had slashed their forecasts for the year ending March 2007 by 20% with an anticipated profit of $536.7 million, down from the initial profits of $656.7 million.

On August 26, 2007, IGN Australia announced that Sega would re-establish itself in Australia, ending THQ Asia Pacific's distribution of Sega products in Australia. Sega Australia has a very close relationship with Nintendo Australia, despite Sega Ozisoft and NAL previously being rivals in the Australian gaming market. Sega Australia currently do not distribute in New Zealand, instead like most other Australian publishers, they opt to let retailers take care of the distribution e.g. EB Games Australia and Kmart.

Continuing to prepare more games for the Western market, Sega was able to bridge a partnership with New Line Cinema in September to develop a game for the movie tie-in game The Golden Compass[47] and also partnered themselves with Fox to develop two new games based on the Alien franchise.[48] Sega then assigned critically acclaimed developers Gearbox Software to develop a first person shooter (Aliens: Colonial Marines) and Obsidian Entertainment to develop an RPG based on the popular film franchise for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The latter was cancelled for undisclosed reasons by Sega. In February 2013, Aliens: Colonial Marines was released on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Sega has also been publishing games from independent studios (such as Platinum Games), and is currently considering turning them into franchises.

Sega has also designed an online flash game site dubbed "PlaySEGA", which includes both original games and ports of classic games, with retro Sonic games being promised in the long run.[49] Users of this site earn various amounts of "PlaySEGA Rings", which they can use to customize and house their avatar or enter weekly cash drawings.

In September 2009, evidence was uncovered[50] that suggests Sega is expanding into the online gambling sector with the launch of an online casino and poker room in October 2009.

Sega would also go on to release several blockbuster Sonic games for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Some of these are Sonic Unleashed (2008), Sonic and the Black Knight (2009), and Sonic Colors (2010). All of these games sold well in North America and Europe, but they did not sell well in Japan.

In 2010, Sega published a sequel to the original Sonic series with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.

On January 22, 2013, Sega acquired the Vancouver-based developer Relic Entertainment from THQ (who had recently filed for bankruptcy).[51]

On May 17, 2013, Sega announced a worldwide partnership with Nintendo for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and announced that the next three Sonic games (Sonic Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and Sonic Boom) will be exclusive to Nintendo devices.[52] The same day, Sega Europe announced that the publishing and distribution rights for the next three Sonic games in Europe and Australia will be handed to Nintendo.[53] However, Sega published Sonic Lost World in North America and Japan.

From 2010 to 2013, Atlus was a brand of Index Corporation. In June 2013, it was reported that Index filed for civil rehabilitation proceedings as they were facing bankruptcy due to a debt of ¥24.5 billion. When asked, an Atlus representative made a statement claiming both Index Digital Media, Inc. and the ATLUS brand were unaffected by these proceedings.[54] On September 18, 2013, it was reported that Sega Sammy Holdings had won a bid to acquire the bankrupt Index for 14 billion yen.[55] All operations of Index Corp., including the Atlus brand and Index Digital Media Inc. (Atlus USA), transferred to Sega Dream Corporation, a newly established, wholly owned subsidiary of Sega Corporation, on November 1, 2013.[56]

On 1 November 2013, Sega announced that it will rename its subsidiary, Sega Dream Corporation, to Index Corporation.[57]

On February 18, 2014, Sega announced the separation of Index Corporation's contents and solution businesses into a new subsidiary under the name 'Index Corporation' (株式会社インデックス), while renaming the 'old' Index Corporation and its remaining digital game business division into 'Atlus' (株式会社アトラス), effective on April 1, 2014. The new Atlus would also include the foreign subsidiary Index Digital Media, Inc., which would be renamed to Atlus U.S.A., Inc. at the same day as the establishment of new Atlus.[58]

On February 6, 2014, Sega announced Sonic Boom as the official title for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The game ties in with Sega's upcoming Sonic Boom franchise, which includes a television series and other merchandise, and will be the third release in Sega's exclusivity agreement with Nintendo.[59] The franchise is designed for Western audiences[60] and will serve as a prequel to the television series. Sega announced the game to feature Sonic's traditional speed alongside a new exploratory game mechanic called "Enerbeam". Sega of America's marketing director Marchello Churchill explained that the new franchise was not designed to "replace modern Sonic".[59] The Western developer's CEO explained that Sonic Boom '​s Sonic is "very different ... both in tone and art direction."

Legacy[edit]

In July 2012, Sega's first History book titled Service Games: Rise & Fall of SEGA was published by CreateSpace.[61] The book starts from 1940, chronicling the life of David Rosen and other founders of Sega to the end of the Dreamcast (2006).

On October 21, 2012, project lead David Munoz started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an enhanced edition in order to address the criticism from the first book which was released on December 18, 2013.[62]

In Feb 2014, another book entitled Console Wars was announced by Blake Harris. The book is set to chronicle the rivalry between Sega and Nintendo, specifically from the perspective of former president Tom Kalinske.[63]

It was later announced that Sony Pictures would be developing a film based on the book which would be written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg (who also wrote the foreword for the book).[64] Scott Rudin was later announced as the producer.[65] The book was released on May 2014, whereas the movie does not have a concrete release date.

Sega Studios[edit]

Sega has had in-house studios and subsidiary studios from 1983 to date. See also List of Sega software development studios

1983–1990[edit]

Development division[edit]

The development division was largely restricted to arcade development. The only exception was Sword of Vermilion which was designed from the ground up for the Sega Mega Drive home console.

Department Headed By Titles
Sega DD #1 Sega's original Japanese development studio, spun off in 1990.
Sega DD #2 Yu Suzuki
Sega DD #3 Rikiya Nakagawa

Consumer development division[edit]

Shinobu Toyoda was the leader of Sega CD later known as AM8 and eventually Sonic Team. Under Toyoda's leadership, project designer Naoto Ohshima and lead programmer Yuji Naka pitched the idea of Sonic the Hedgehog as company mascot to Sega CEO, Hayao Nakayama. Yuji Naka became Studio head afterwards.[66]

Department Headed By Titles
Sega CD #1
Sega CD #2 Shinobu Toyoda[66]
Sega CD #3 Noriyoshi Ohba same as DD#3

1990–1998[edit]

Sega reorganized and expanded upon their R&D studios, and the Consumer Divisions and Development Divisions were all now renamed to Sega-AM Teams (Amusement Machine Research & Development Teams).

The name "Sonic Team" has been used for AM8 since the inception of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991. NiGHTS Into Dreams... was the first game to have the Sonic Team logo on the boxart, officially separating it from the Amusement Machine Research & Development teams.

The expanded Amusement Vision|AM4 studio, spun off of AM2, and was led by Toshihiro Nagoshi. AM5 had many former Namco employees that worked on Ridge Racer.

Outside of Fighters Megamix and Digital Dance Mix, the focus of Sega AM-1 to AM5 was restricted to arcade development.

Team list[edit]

Department Members From Headed By Titles
Sega AM1 R&D Sega DD #3 Rikiya Nakagawa
Sega AM2 R&D Sega DD#2 Yu Suzuki
Sega AM3 R&D New Studio Hisao Oguchi
Sega AM4 R&D New Studio Toshihiro Nagoshi
Sega AM5 R&D New Studio Tetsuya Mizuguchi
Sega AM6 R&D Sega CD #1 Yukio Futatsugi
Sega AM7 R&D Sega CD #3 Noriyoshi Oba
Sonic Team (AM8) Sega CD #2 Yuji Naka

1998–2004[edit]

In 1999, the original character designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, Naoto Ohshima left Sega along with other employess due to disgreements with Yuji Naka to where the future of the franchise is headed. Artoon was founded by Naoto Ohshima and has many former Sonic Team employees. Around the same time, Team Andromeda dissolved along with its lead Yukio Futatsugi leaving the company. Former Team Andromeda employees have since then worked at Artoon, AQ Interactive, Microsoft Studios Japan, Grounding Co. and Land Ho.

In 2000, Sega converted all their in-house studios into 2nd Party Studios, for more independency and a bigger focus on the consumer market by former arcade focused studios. Former AM5 head Tetsuya Mizuguchi formed his own studio by the name of United Game Artists. Several Team Andromeda members have joined Smilebit and United Game Artists.

In 2003, due to management disagreements, UGA-led Tetsuya Mizuguchi and the Rez team left Sega to found Q Entertainment. The rest of the UGA team consisted of Space Channel 5 developers was folded back into Sonic Team.

Also in 2003, the action game side of Overworks spun off in to WOW Entertainment, which after Nightshade and Blood Will Tell, solely focused on content for arcades.

Hisao Oguchi became appointed to CEO in 2001, and Mie Kumagai replaced him as the studio head of Hitmaker.

Hirokazu Yasuhara who was the lead designer and director of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, left Sega in 2002 and joined Naughty Dog, with the last position being designer of Visual Concepts Floigan Bros..

Due to decline of revenue of traditional Arcades, more focus went on Networked trading card games; which is a genre of arcade games that Sega essentially invented.

Studio list[edit]

Department Members From Headed By Titles
WOW Entertainment Sega AM1 R&D Rikiya Nakagawa
Sega AM2 same as before Yu Suzuki
Hitmaker Sega AM3 R&D Mie Kumagai
Amusement Vision Sega AM4 R&D Toshihiro Nagoshi
Sega Rosso Sega AM5 R&D Kenji Sasaki
Smilebit Sega AM6 R&D Shun Arai
Overworks Sega AM7 R&D Noriyoshi Oba
Sonic Team same as before Yuji Naka
United Game Artists AM5 + AM6 + AM8 Tetsuya Mizuguchi

2004–2009[edit]

General Entertainment R&D Division which is was formed by the merger of Sonic Team, United Game Artists, and Overworks. The two departments were led by Sonic Team and Overworks producers, such as Yuji Naka and Akira Nishino. In 2006, Yuji Naka went independent to form Prope. Akinori Nishiyama and then Takashi Iizuka replaced him as the Producer.

Department Members From Titles
GE1 R&D Sonic Team + United Game Artists
GE2 R&D Overworks

New Entertainment R&D Division is essentially the AM6 or Smilebit of before with sports titles. However, Toshihiro Nagoshi and his team were integrated due to moving outside the arcade division, and gaining large control in this division. Takayuki Kawagoe continues to have a Producer and Executive role as he had before in the AM6/Smilebit division.

Department Members From Titles
NE R&D Amusement Vision + Smilebit
Sports R&D Amusement Vision + Smilebit

Amusement Software R&D Division which focuses on the development of games for arcade. The division is headed by Yu Suzuki, Hiroshi Kataoka, Atsushi Seimiya and Mie Kumagai. Networked arcade games that get continuously updated with users being able to save their file on ID cards, started to become a huge increase of focus, beginning with Virtua Fighter 4 in 2001.

Department Members From Titles
AM R&D WOW Entertainment + Sega-AM2 + Hitmaker + Sega Rosso

2009–present[edit]

General Entertainment R&D Division changed its name to Consumer R&D Division, and New Entertainment R&D Division merged with Consumer R&D Division.

Department Members From Titles
CS1 R&D same as before
CS2 R&D same as before
CS3 R&D same as before
Sports R&D same as before

Amusement R&D Division which focuses on the development of games for arcade. Yu Suzuki stepped down and is now solely responsible for YS.NET

Department Members From Titles
AM R&D same as before
  • Wonderland Wars (2015) [101]

Sega Networks focuses on development for smartphones and tablets.

Department Year of purchase/founding Members from Headed by Titles
Sega Networks [102] 2012 Consumer R&D Division Haruki Satomi
[108]

Acquired studios (2005–present)[edit]

Department Division Year of purchase/founding Notable titles
The Creative Assembly Sega Europe 2005
Sports Interactive Sega Europe 2006
Three Rings Design Sega America 2011
Hardlight Studio Sega Europe 2012
Relic Entertainment Sega America 2013
Index (Atlus) Sega Japan 2013

Affiliated studios[edit]

Sega began contracting subsidiary studios in 1983.

Japanese[edit]

Studio Titles
Westone Bit Entertainment
Treasure
Sonic! Software Planning
System Sacom
Arc System Works
Vic Tokai
Compile
Aspect Co.
Coreland
Microcabin
Game Freak
Givro
Chime
J Force
Climax Entertainment
RED Entertainment
Vivarium Inc.
Genki
Neverland
Shade
Ancient
Dimps
French Bread (game developer)
From Software
D3 Publisher
M2
Chunsoft
Tabot Inc.
Alfa System
Imageepoch
Crypton Future Media
Flight-Plan
Tri-Ace
Prope
Platinum Games
Studio Forefront
Media.Vision
Syn Sophia

Western[edit]

Studio Titles
STI
SegaSoft
Appaloosa Interactive
Infogrames
ToeJam & Earl Productions
BlueSky Software
Big Red Button Entertainment
Realtime Associates
Gearbox Software
Traveller's Tales
Visual Concepts
No Cliché
Zono Incorporated
Amuze
Sanzaru Games
EA Black Box
Access Games
Pseudo Interactive
Petroglyph Games
Bizarre Creations
Backbone Entertainment
Creative Assembly
Shiny Entertainment
Planet Moon Studios
Sumo Digital
Monolith Productions
Sega Studios San Francisco
Totally Games
Kuju Entertainment
Griptonite Games
Arkedo Studio
Double Fine Productions
Avalanche Studios
Obsidian Entertainment

Company personnel[edit]

Sega headquarters Building 1, Ōta, Tokyo

Corporate executives[edit]

Japanese[edit]

  • Okitane Usui: President of Sega Japan (2008–2012) (Hired by Groupon as International Vice President, East Asia)
  • Hayao Nakayama: Cofounder, president SOJ (1984–1998)
  • Shoichiro Irimajiri: President SOJ (1998–2000)
  • Isao Okawa: President SOJ (2000–2001) (died shortly after Dreamcast was discontinued in North America, forgave the debts Sega owed him, and gave the company his $695 million worth of Sega and CSK stock to Sega Corporation.)[109]
  • Hisao Oguchi: President SOJ (2001–2004)

North American[edit]

  • John Cheng: President of Sega of America (2012–present)
  • Mike Hayes: President of Sega of America (2009–2012)
  • Simon Jeffery: President Sega of America (2003–2009)
  • Peter Moore: President Sega of America(1999–2003)
  • Bernie Stolar: President Sega of America(1996–1999)
  • Tom Kalinske: President Sega of America(1991–1996)
  • Michael Katz: President Sega of America(1989–1991)
  • Bruce Lowry: President Sega of America(1986–1988)[110]
  • Naoya Tsurumi: CEO of Sega of America (2005-2009)[111][112]
  • David Rosen: Cofounder, board member

European[edit]

  • Jürgen Post: President of Sega of Europe (2012–present)
  • Mike Hayes: President of Sega of Europe (2009–2012)
  • Robert Deith: Cofounder/chairman Sega Europe (1991–2001)
  • Naoya Tsurumi: CEO of Sega of Europe (2004-2009)[111][112]
  • Paul Williams: CEO of Sega Amusements Ltd. (heretofore)

Korean[edit]

  • Yasutaka Sato: President SPK (2005–2008)
  • Kazunobu Takita: President SPK (2008–2011)
  • Tooru Matsuo: President SPK (2011–2013)
  • Akira Nomoto: President SPK (2013–present)

Research & Development[edit]

Hardware Division[edit]

  • Hideki Sato: Head of Sega Away Team (1985–2001) (also called Sega Hardware Team R&D)

Video Game Software Division[edit]

Seal of Quality[edit]

The Sega Seal of Quality

The Sega Seal of Quality was an icon placed on the packaging of all video games that had Sega's official approval to be played on a Sega console system. As was the case with the Nintendo Seal of Quality, the intention behind the "seal" was to avoid the mistakes that led to the Video Game Crash of 1983 by ensuring that games were compatible with the intended Sega console system, and to censor content that Sega felt was inappropriate for their image.

The Sega Seal of Quality was an icon that Sega put on its own video games along with certain video games published by a third party software developer. As was the case with the Nintendo Seal of Quality, the Sega seal appeared on a video game's box and marketing as a means of informing the consumer that Sega had previewed the game before its release to ensure that the game was fully compatible for its intended home console system, and had met a certain level of Sega's standard of quality (in terms of graphics, sound, challenge, and possible offensive content). However, the Sega Seal of Quality was otherwise very different than the Nintendo Seal of Quality.

Sega never required a third-party software developer to earn the official Sega Seal of Quality as a precondition for publication, although most developers chose to do so. Furthermore, a game could earn the seal even if it contained certain themes that its bigger competitor, Nintendo, would have prohibited: blood, scantily clad female villains, and graphic violence. Hence, the Sega Seal of Quality was given out to Sega Genesis games that depicted blood (Splatterhouse 2, Techno Cop), and scantily clad females (Streets of Rage, Final Fight CD).

Video games released on a Sega home console system were still censored for other taboo or controversial depictions; i.e. profanity, nudity, prostitution, homosexuality. However, this was done by the software developer and not as a requirement issued by Sega to the developer.

In 1993, Sega of America permitted Acclaim to keep the graphic violence and gore in its port of Midway's popular arcade game titled Mortal Kombat. As this game and other games sparked a national controversy over the violent content in video games, Sega created the Videogame Rating Council to give a descriptive rating to every game sold on a Sega home console system in the United States. This rating, along with the seal, would appear on the game's box and marketing. The Videogame Rating Council was phased out in 1994 with the adoption of the industry wide Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Sega gradually shifted the scope of their seal of quality to focus less on content and more on assuring consumers that a game was fully compatible with its intended home console system. The Sega Seal is no longer seen on any games as Sega stopped producing games consoles, home or handheld, after the discontinuation of the Dreamcast in March 2001.

[edit]

Sega has had a long history of different slogans and ad campaigns; such as "Genesis does what Nintendon't".

Arcade[edit]

  • The Quartermasters. (1970s)
  • The Arcade Experts. (early '80s)

Master System[edit]

  • The challenge will always be there.
  • Major fun and games!
  • Now, there are no limits.
  • Hot hits today! Hot hits on the way!
  • Do me a favor, plug me into a Sega (talking TV).
  • All kinds of games, all kinds of fun. (Australia)
  • Let the games begin! (Australia)
  • Play strong, Play Sega (Denmark)

Mega Drive/Genesis[edit]

  • Genesis does what Nintendon't! (early 90s, pre-SNES)
  • You can't do this on Nintendo (early 90s, pre-SNES)
  • Blast Processing
  • The name "Sega!" being composed by a choir.
  • Welcome To The Next Level. (Also used for the Game Gear. Referenced in Shadow The Hedgehog)
  • To be this good takes AGES, To be this good takes SEGA. (UK) ("Ages" is "Sega" spelled backwards) - this was parodied by Commodore with "To be this good will take Sega ages".[113]
  • Siga Sega! ("Follow Sega!", used in Brazil during the early '90s)
  • Sega, c'est plus fort que toi ! ('Sega, it's stronger than you!', cult French TV slogan, early '90s)
  • 16 bit arcade graphics!
  • Cyber Razor Cut
  • La Ley del Más Fuerte (The Law of the Strongest, Spanish slogan from 1993 to 1994)
  • Pirate TV (Britain, also featured as a comic series in Sonic the Comic)
  • Canal Pirata Sega (Spain)
  • Sega, é mais forte que tu (Sega, It's stronger than you, Portugal, early '90s)
  • Someone yelling "SEGA!" (the "Sega scream").

Saturn[edit]

  • A little bit too real (early print ad in the US)
  • Welcome to the Real World – Sega Saturn. (Early UK TV slogan)
  • Segata Sanshiro: "Sega Saturn Shiro!" ("Play Sega Saturn!")
  • When you have Sega Saturn, nothing else matters.
  • The Game is Never Over (also used in last European Mega Drive commercials.)
  • Peligrosamente real (Dangerously Real. 1st Spanish slogan)
  • Contraprográmate (De-Program-Yourself, Spain, 1997)
  • The Plaything ad.
  • The Theater of the eye (mid-'90s US ad.)
  • Nous ne sommes pas sur la même planète ("We are not on the same planet", French slogan in the mid-'90s)
  • Perigosamente Real (Dangerously Real, Portugal.)

Dreamcast[edit]

  • It's Thinking. (tagline used in US launch)
  • Up to 6 billion players. (tagline used in Europe launch)
  • You are now entering chapter three (Australian launch)

Post-Dreamcast years (2002–2003)[edit]

  • The return of the "Sega!" choir.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]