History of Sega in Lithuania
From Sega Retro
|History of Sega in Lithuania|
|Official Sega distributor(s): Vilandra (1995-1998), Andrico (2008-2013), Gamelab (2009-2013), TKM Baltics (2014-2019), iWare Distribution (2019-present)|
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In March 11, 1990 Lithuania 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. 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.
The first Sega official consoles appeared in 1995. The representative was Vilandra which started distribution and promotion of Sega Mega Drive model II, Sega Master System model II, Sega Game Gear One of the first was a trip to Disneyland and in the console boxes there were lottery cards for this event. In children's magazines such as Mickey Mouse and Genys appeared sponsored articles about Sega games and consoles as well as a lottery with prizes. In autumn 1995, Sega Mega-CD II and Mega Drive 32X were released.
In 1996, the focus was on the Sega Saturn promotion, which could also be won in some children's magazines. Saturn's situation was not very good. Only 100 units were sold throughout the year and the price dropped from 2,999 LTL to 1,499 LTL. Consequently, the games were also not quite popular. Sega Rally had sold 60 units until November 1996, and for example NBA Action, released in Lithuania in mid-October 1996, had been bought by mid-November 1996 in 10 units.Of course, promotions were organized, such as during the Christmas 1996, where for buying two games for Sega Saturn people could get a Christmas Nights or a watch for free.In 1997, apart from winning consoles, there was a trip to Sega World to win.
As in other countries of the former Eastern bloc, game piracy has also hit Lithuania. According to Vilandra, in every month of 1996, about 10 counterfeit Mega Drives were delivered to the company's service for repair, which could not be repaired due to the lack of warranty on the clones.Dariaus Laurinavičiaus, the manager of Vilandra, said that counterfeit games cost from 70 to 150 LTL, while the original ones from 100 to 300 LTL. In order to encourage people to buy originals, the distributor organized a promotion in which buyers of cartridges receive free watches (worth about 80 LTL) with images of characters from the game Sonic and Knuckles. This was to cover the difference in the purchase.
Unfortunately, in 1998 due to poor sales of Saturn, Vilandra withdrew from further distribution. Mega Drive with famiclones and PlayStation still remains as one of the most popular consoles from the 90s in this region.
Dreamcast and beyond
Sega Dreamcast reached Lithuania in 2000, but it is not known who distributed the consoles.
In 2008 Andrico became a distributor. In 2009, the company made an agreement with Gamelab regarding the sale of games in the region of the Baltic states.Andrico helped Gamelab and translated the game boxes into Lithuanian. 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.
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 Lithuania can be find the bootlegs of the Sega Mega Drive console and games. They are mainly from Russia.
- Kiber Zona, "Birzelis 1997" (LT; 1997-xx-xx), page 5