Sega enterprises are one of the most influential players in the gaming industry, known for creating a range of games, loveable characters, and taking chances with innovative technology. Here is a look at the incredible story behind Sega.
Sega games had humble beginnings starting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1940. Known then as Standard Games, they provided coin-operated slot machines and jukeboxes for the American Military stationed in Hawaii.
In 1950, the company changed its name to Service Games in honor of its primary customer market – the troops. Soon after, America outlawed the use of slot machines so Service Games moved their headquarters to Tokyo, Japan in 1951 to focus on selling their products and services to the Japanese market.
In 1960, Service Games rebranded themselves into the name we all know and love – Sega.
Evolving with Rosen Enterprises
Rosen Enterprises was a Japanese photo booth company that eventually started importing coin-operated games. In 1965, Sega was acquired by Rosen to form Sega Enterprises. The company pivoted from slot machines in military bases, to a focus on growing its success in the arcade gaming industry.
In 1966, Sega was developing original arcade machines. One of which being ‘Periscope’, going down as the first coin-operated game in American and European history. This mechanical game, although very large and expensive to play, was hugely successful. Other popular mechanical games were ‘Rifleman’ and ‘Helicopter’.
The ‘70s and early ‘80s saw the trend of arcade machines made with microprocessors. Sega released a series of successful games such as ‘Jet Rocket’, ‘Turbo’, ‘Fonz’, and ‘Buck Rogers’.
Sega’s innovation as a company also contributed to its success, leading to the release of many firsts in the gaming world. These included ‘Zaxxon’, the first isometric game; ‘SubRoc-3D’, the first stereoscopic 3D game; and ‘Astron Belt’, the first laserdisc game.
A few of Sega’s other iconic successes were the Genesis and Dreamcast consoles, which offered record-breaking sales, as well as the creation of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, a worthy competitor that knocked ‘Mario’ off the top.
Bad timing and missed opportunities
Sega decided to enter the home console market in 1983, when the gaming market crashed in America as a result of an oversaturated market with poor quality control. Although they still experienced some success with products like the SG 1000 and Sega Genesis; Sega was locked in a head-to-head battle with gaming giant Nintendo and was unfortunately losing.
Sega also had some leadership issues over the years, with their American and Japanese companies often disagreeing on directions to take the company. Because of this unrest, Sega missed out on many opportunities. They for example rejected innovative hardware that went on to become the Nintendo 64, and didn’t team up with Microsoft, who went to develop the Xbox.These missed opportunities and poor timing had contributed to the company’s downfall in the console market. In 2001, Sega stopped providing consoles and decided to create new games and software instead.
Sega has an amazing story. From manufacturing the first of the mechanical arcade games to inspiring us with 18 years of gaming console innovation, and let’s not forget creating the characters that would mold our childhoods.