History of Sega in Latvia

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Latvia 
History of Sega in Latvia
Official Sega distributor(s): Andrico (2008-2013), Gamelab (2009-2013), TKM Baltics (2014-2019), iWare Distribution (2019-present)

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In August 21, 1991 Latvia declared independence from the USSR and became an independent state. For foreign companies such as Sega, this meant a new market must be obtained. From the beginning of the 90s, Zhiliton 938-A, a clone of the Nintendo Famicom, was popular in the Baltic countries. This console had exactly the same design as the Sega Mega Drive. However, no one suspected that the console was similar to Sega's products due to their lack in the region.

It is also known that the Dendy console, popular in other USSR countries appeared in this region, which means that Steepler had resellers in the region.[1] The Dendy received some attention, but was never as popular as Zhiliton especially with more and more new and cheap clones on the market such as UFO, Liko, Terminator 2 and Subor. Steepler's topic is little known in the Baltic countries, so not much can be said at the moment. It is known, however, that in November 1994, Steepler was licensed by Nintendo to sell their products in all former Soviet Union countries, and thus Super Nintendo and Game Boy were released in that region, but these products were not popular.[2][3]

The first Sega consoles appeared around 1994 along with Mega Drive, Master System II and Game Gear. Sega was called the pioneer of video games in Latvia. In 1997, cartridge based Sega consoles could be purchased for around 25 to 50 LVL while Sega CD-based consoles were more expensive.[4] The popularity of Sega consoles resulted in the creation of Sega Mega Klubos. Mega Drive with famiclones and PlayStation still remains as one of the most popular consoles from the 90s in this region.

In 2008 Andrico became a distributor.[5] In 2009, the company made an agreement with Gamelab regarding the sale of games in the region of the Baltic states.[6]Andrico helped Gamelab and translated the game boxes into Latvian. The cooperation ended in 2013. In 2014, the Latvian company TKM Baltics became the distributor of Sega games in this region.The games were mainly available for purchase on the Gamebalt website.[7]

iWare Distribution became a distributor in 2019.

Several publishers from Russia have also released Sega games in this country. 1C-SoftClub sold, among others, Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed and Football Manager 2011. Akella released Sakura Taisen in the Baltic States. There were also many pirate games on PC from Russia.

Until today in Latvia can be find the bootlegs of the Sega Mega Drive console and games. They are mainly from Russia.

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