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Sega

From Sega Retro

Sega.svg
Fast facts on Sega
Founded: 1945 (as Service Games)
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Sega (セガ) is an international digital entertainment and media company currently headquartered in Ota, Tokyo, Japan. Founded in the mid-1940s, Sega experienced rapid growth in the 1980s and 1990s to become one of the dominant forces in its field. It remains to this day a major player in the worldwide video game industry, covering arcade, console, handheld, mobile and PC markets.

Sega Enterprises was the first incarnation of Sega, and it became headquarted in Tokyo in 1984, when it was bought by Japanese CSK. Sega Enterprises became Sega Coporation in July of 2000. Since 2004, Sega operates under a collective holding company known as Sega Sammy Holdings, formed after a merger between what was then Sega Corporation and Sammy Corporation. In April 2015 the Sega side of the business was sub-divided into three; Sega Games, handling the video game consumer business, Sega Interactive, which deals with the development and production of arcade games, and Sega Entertainment, responsible for the running of commercial venuesMedia:IR EN 2015-02-12 3.pdf[1]. Sega's operations are also reffered to with regional subsidaires, which are Sega of America and Sega Europe both founded around the mid eighties.

In practice, all divisions and groups within the company are generally referred to and known collectively as "Sega".

History

Main article: History of Sega.

Business interests

Amusement machines

UFO Catcher 9, one of the latest in the line of lucrative UFO Catcher machines.

For most of its existence, Sega has been catering for the amusement industry, and alongside Namco and Taito, was seen as one of the major players in the Japanese market during the second half of the 20th century. While the sector has declined from its heights in the 1980s and early 1990s, Sega remains a prolific manufacturer of arcade machines, placing a specific emphasis on its home market of Japan.

The bulk of Sega's amusement machine business involves the creation of titles that are not easily replicated at home ranging from 1985 Hang-On to recent games like Maimai. For Japanese users, Sega has placed a high value on the use of the internet, allowing players to compete between arcade venues and keep track of their status through apps for mobile devices or physical cards.

Sega's heritedge was built on gambling machines, however systems dealing with real money can be subject to heavy regulations. As a result, since the mid-1980s Sega has instead focused on the concept of "medal" games, often offering the similar risk versus reward gameplay seen in the gambling sector, but which which accept and distribute currency specific to a venue, with no cash value outside of the premises.

While the arcade industry has declined significantly in Western markets since its peak in the 1980s, Sega continues operate amusement businesses in the US and Europe, distributing products by third-party manufacturers and maintaining (and refurbishing) the company's older back-catelogue of racing and shooting games. Popular releases such as Daytona USA and Sega Rally Championship, despite being more than two decades old, are still often seen in active service and are staples of what little remains of the arcade scene. Likewise, these branches continue to oversee the development of new releases targeting a Western audience.

In addition to creating arcade video games, Sega has ventured into other areas of the amusement business, from change machines to motion simulators. Since 1985 Sega has been producing UFO Catcher machines; popular "crane" games which have been a permanent fixture of Japanese game centres since the late 1980s. Sega have a significant stake in this market, for as well as constructing the cabinets themselves, the company also sources and distributes the prizes.

The company also produces "ride-on" machines for younger children, although few of these models have ever left Japan.

Video games

Title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog, featuring the company's mascot.

Sega has been directly involved in the home "consumer" video game market since 1983, doubling up in the first eighteen years as a hardware manufacturer. During this time the company has created a number of lucrative franchises which are still actively maintained to this day, most notably the Sonic the Hedgehog series whose eponymous lead character has become a mascot for the company.

Sega supports home video game consoles and handhelds from platform holders Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft as well as the PC market, supported by Western subsidiaries The Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive and Relic Entertainment. Sega's primary focus in recent years however is to target mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with titles such as Chain Chronicle and Puyo Puyo!! Quest, which Sega believes (in Japan at least) is the only games market not in declineMedia:AnnualReport2016 English.pdf[2].

The company has a number of internal development studios based in Japan, with resources often shared between consumer and arcade projects. Local development in Sega of America and Sega Europe through contracted and sometimes owned studios are also part of the operation.

With the purchasing of Index Holdings in the summer of 2013, Atlus now resides as part of the Sega-Sammy family and also share resouces with Sega's Japanese and American headquarters.

Currently popular Sega franchises are Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star Online, Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku), Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA and Puyo Puyo series.

Entertainment venues

Tokyo Joypolis, the first indoor theme park opened by Sega.

In addition to producing amusement machines, Sega owns a large portfolio of properties in which consumers can access them. Sega opened the first of its many Japanese "game centers" in the late 1960s, likely peaking at 870 sites across Japan in 1999Media:AnnualReport1999 English.pdf[3], including an array of Joypolis indoor amusement parts, Sega World and Club Sega amusement arcades, and a number of spa and leisure facilities. It also operates the Orbi indoor nature attraction, developed in conjunction with BBC Worldwide.

In addition, Sega owns and operates Sega Republic in the UAE and a small number of venues in Taiwan and China. Cashflow problems, its merger with Sammy and subsequent restructuring in the mid-2000s led to Sega parting with many of its overseas entertainment venues, including the GameWorks chain in the US, Sega Worlds stationed in Australia and South Korea, and its numerous arcades spread across Europe, most notably the Joypolis-inspired SegaWorld London in 1999.

The existence of dedicated venues has allowed Sega to create much larger projects over the years, including indoor rides and movie theaters. They have also proved convenient spots for location testing of arcade machines.

Consumer products

Throughout its history, Sega has occasionally ventured into the toy and consumer electronics markets. Of particular note is its takeover of Yonezawa Toys in 1994, leading to the creation of what would eventually become known as Sega Toys in 1998. As the largest post-War toy manufacturer in Japan, Yonezawa's incoporation into the Sega family meant that, for a time, Sega was a market leader in the Japanese toy market, with strong links to Hasbro in the United States. However, while Sega Toys continues to exist, it is currently managed as a separate entity within Sega Sammy Holdings.

Sega has also produced karaoke equipment (Prologue 21), a digital camera (Digio SJ-1), a television (Sega-Vision), PDAs (IR 7000 Communicator) and has published films on VHS cassette. It has created films and cartoon shows with partners such as TMS Entertainment, and its properties have been used to create books, albums, board games and audiobooks.

Sega's properties have also been turned into theater productions, with at one point bi-annual shows centred around Sakura Taisen and more recently, Phantasy Star Online 2: On Stage.

Notable products

Key figures

Gallery

External links

References

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NEC Retro has more information related to Sega.
  1. File:IR EN 2015-02-12 3.pdf
  2. File:AnnualReport2016 English.pdf, page 43
  3. File:AnnualReport1999 English.pdf, page 14
Early Sega
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Service Games Sega Enterprises, Ltd. Gulf+Western
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Domestic Sega studios
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CSK Sega Sammy Holdings
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Sega AM2
Sega AM11 R&D #4 Amusement Vision New Entertainment Sega CS1
Ryu ga Gotoku Studio
DigitalRex AM Plus
Sega AM3 Hitmaker Sega AM3
AM Annex R&D #5 Sega Rosso
Sega AM4 Sega Mechatronics Product R&D
N. Pro. R&D
Sega AM5 Mirai R&D Family Entertainment
Sega AM6
Sega R&D2 Sega CS Sega CS1 R&D #6 Smilebit Sega Sports Design
Team Andromeda
Sega PC Online R&D
Sega CS2 R&D #7 Overworks GE2 Sega CS3
Sonic Team
R&D #9 United Game Artists
Sega Sound Team
Sega Digital Studio Wave Master Wave Master (label)
Mobile Content R&D Sega Networks
Visual Entertainment Marza Animation Planet
Overseas Sega companies, studios and subsidiaries
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CSK Sega Sammy Holdings
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Sega Europe
Sega France Sega France
Sega España Sega España
Sega Interactive
Sega Germany Sega Germany
Sega Taiwan
Sega Benelux Sega Benelux
Sega Multimedia Studio
Sega Midwest Studio
Sega Amusements USA
Deith Leisure Sega Amusements Europe Sega Amusements International
Sega Total Solutions
Sega Prize Europe
Sega Music Group
SegaSoft
Sega Entertainment
No Cliche
Sega of America Dreamcast
Sonic Team USA Sega Studios USA
Visual Concepts
Sega.com
Sega Mobile Sega Networks Inc.
Sega Publishing Korea
Sega of China
The Creative Assembly
Sega Studios San Francisco
Sports Interactive
Sega Studios Australia
Three Rings Design
Relic Entertainment
Atlus USA
Demiurge Studios
Go Game
Amplitude Studios