History of Sega in Italy

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Italy 
History of Sega in Italy
Official Sega distributor(s): Melchioni (1983-1985), NBC Italia (1986-1988), Giochi Preziosi (1988-1998), GP Tronic (1998-1999), Halifax (1999-2004), Leader (2004-2009), Halifax (2009-2015), Koch Media (2015-present)

In the 70s Italy was one of the countries where Sega imported its game machines.[1]

Melchioni, known for distributing Atari consoles, began selling the SC-3000 in 1993. The company allocated quite a large advertising budget, but distribution turned out to be very limited, in the order of several hundred copies sold.

NBC Italia has dealt with the distribution of the Sega Master System since 1986. Unfortunately, the console was poorly promoted and in 1988 the distributor was changed.

Since 1988, Tecnoplay has begun cooperating in importing arcades from Data East which later changed its name to Sega Pinball. In 1991, Tecnoplay released the first Sega arcades called Virtua Racing.[2]

The new company selling Sega consoles is Giochi Preziosi, previously selling Nintendo products. They started promoting the Master System actively on TV, including the famous goalkeeper Walter Zenga. The advertisement with slogan Team Sega was broadcast during the World Cup in Italy which was supposed to increase sales. Preziosi was a toy company, so they started putting out their own gadgets like a soccer ball to add to the console.

In the next years a lot of famous athletes and actors joined the ads like Jerry Calà, Gianni Bugno, Ian Ziering, Roberto Mancini, Gigi Lentini and mentioned earlier Walter Zenga. Most of the ads had the marketing slogans with word Campioni like Solo Per Veri Campioni or I Videogiochi dei Campioni. There were also others like Non c'e' paragone or Sega TV Pirata.

The Mega Drive went on sale in November 1990, but it was only available at Giochi Preziosi (the so-called Giocheria) stores. It went on sale in other stores in January 1991. Since then, the company has spent huge amounts of money on advertising campaigns, hiring more famous personalities to appear in advertisements. Mega Drive has sold 300,000 units throughout its lifetime in Italy.[3] In 1991, Master System II and Game Gear appeared. Until 1993, the Sega handheld console was the most popular handheld console on the market.

Sega's successes ended in 1994. Sega Pico has not gained as much popularity as Game Gear. The Mega CD and Mega Drive 32X were also ignored by consumers.[4] In 1996, TCI's technology group got the rights to distribute Sega Channel in Italy, but it is not known that the service was launched there. In 1995, Sega Saturn appeared, but they sold less than 10,000 units over the lifetime. At the end of 1998, Giochi Preziosi founded GP Tronic, which had to deal with the creation of the distribution network for Dreamcast and with PC industry.[5]

Mega Drive clones have also appeared in Italy, such as the Mondial Drive II by Schnider, Super Mega Driver by Watary Italia SRL. Mosciano S.A. and Game Drive 2, however, these activities were in a small scale compared to, for example, the countries of Eastern Europe.

Sega Dreamcast hit the Italian market in 1999. Halifax which belongs to Digital Bros became the distributor[6] and held this function until summer 2004, when Leader took over.[7]Halifax returned as distributor in May 2009[8] but in 2015, Koch Media took over.[9]

References

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