History of Sega in Poland
From Sega Retro
|History of Sega in Poland|
|Official Sega distributor(s): Przedsiębiorstwo Zagraniczne ITI (1992-1993), AGES (1994-1996), Bemex (1994-1996), Bobmark International (1996-1997), Lanser (1997-2003), CD Projekt (2003-2014), Cenega (2014-present)|
The consoles started their existence in Poland with the Tele-Set GTV 881 produced since 1977 by Unimor. The fall of communist Poland in the September of 1989 led to the peaceful transition to the Third Polish Republic in the years that followed. No longer under strict political regimes and the wider sphere of influence from the Soviet Union, Poland was able to open its markets in the early 1990s, enabling the country to import luxary items (such as video game consoles) from elsewhere.
Like many of its contemporaries, Sega did not immediately create distribution channels across the Eastern bloc. In 1991, in other parts of the world, the Blockout game by the Polish California Dreams and Logical Design Works studios was released on Mega Drive. It was the only Polish game for this system. In 1992, Sega made progress to enter the Polish market. Przedsiębiorstwo Zagraniczne ITI, a company that deals mainly with the distribution of films and VHS tapes, has started selling the Sega Master System console. Games and consoles could be purchased at the company's branches. As reported by the Radioelektronik magazine, some games had instructions in Polish. Unfortunately, the console was not well received and was withdrawn from sale the following year. At the same time, many people went abroad. They often bought consoles for child mostly from Sega or Nintendo. These consoles aroused big interest in many people who only saw the widespread 8-bit Nintendo famiclones or computers. They were also a problem because the owners could not get games to the console. After some time, however, small clubs and rentals for these people began to appear. Top Secret editors made in 1994 a poll which revealed that readers have the following consoles: CDTV-10%, Pegasus/Nintendo/Game Boy/Supervision-8%, Mega Drive/Sega-1%, Others-3%.
Bobmark International was among the first companies to enter the Polish market, and in 1991 began distributing Pegasus consoles in the region - a clone of the Nintendo Famicom which also found success across the former Yugoslavian republics around this time. The Pegasus line would become the dominant console across Poland, however 1994 saw a change in the law preventing Bobmark from selling another unlicensed system. Initially, the new law was not followed very accurately, however, as time passed, it began to have more and more influence on Bobmark's operations. This change also caused interest of Sega and Nintendo who started talks with national distributors about selling their consoles.
AGES and Bemex
In July 1994 Bobmark created a new company, trading as AGES ("Sega" reversed) specifically to distribute Sega systems. Sega in from Nissho Iwai who was Sega's agent in the region gave AGES and Bemex an official distribution license and began marketing Sega products in the country. They began to distribute Sega Mega Drive alongside with Sega Master System II and Sega Game Gear.
Sega consoles didn't sell as well as Pegasus systems because of three reasones. The first reason was the poor advertisement of Sega video games and further support of the Pegasus console by Bobmark who considered the agreement with Sega as an alternative in case of famiclone failure. The second was that the original Sega consoles, just like Nintendo and Atari products could be bought mainly in larger cities such as Warsaw, Wroclaw, Katowice, Krakow, Poznan, Lodz however, from month to month the number of stores selling consoles in other cities was constantly increasing.The third and most important were clones of Sega. They were released even before the official distribution and the first one was Super Drive distributed from October 1993 by Hegatar Computing. The price of the console ranged from PLN 3.5-4 million in March 1994 (console, 2 pads and the Sonic game), while the games could be bought for PLN 500,000 to PLN 1 million. In the following months of 1994, another clones were brought to Poland such as Macro Drive (sold by ElektroTEL), High Quality (sold by E-Moll), Hunt 16 bit (sold by E-Moll), Pro 16 Bit and many more as well as pirated copies of games with price from 50 to 120 PLN and the price of clones from 285 to 340 PLN depending on the model, content and seller. Many stores began to hold up selling counterfeit Pegasus and Sega.
In begining of 1995, Pegasus sales began to decline. Bobmark earned less and less, and in addition to the Pegasus and Sega counterfeit, more and more powerful consoles such as Super Nintendo, 3DO, Amiga CD32 and Atari Jaguar were advertised.The first sign of changes was saw in March 1995 when Bobmark announced Pegasus 16-bit. In the meantime, Poland saw release of Mega CD II and Mega Drive 32X. More adverts about Sega began to pop up in comics and magazines. Release of Sega Saturn was moved due to news about console problems in the United States. Instead (and possibly with the blessing of Sega), Bobmark began selling the unlicensed Taiwanese-built KW-501 Mega Drive clone as the Power Pegasus. Released in September 1995 in preparation for Christmas and hoping to trade off a more successful brand, it too failed to catch on. Despite lower price than original Mega Drive, system was already outdated and poorly promoted which resulted in his disappear among stronger competitors and poor sales. It was the last year in which Bobmark made a profit.
The editors of Top Secret made a poll which revealed that in 1995, 28.6% of readers own consoles. This is the percentage of people who have the following consoles: Pegasus-38%, 16-bit and 32-bit devices (no dominant console) -30.7%, Game Boy-16%.
also published in:
- Wojownicze Żółwie Ninja (PL) #2/95 (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-04 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #37: "Kwiecień 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (PL) #58: "4/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Mega Marvel (PL) #7: "2/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Batman (PL) #53: "4/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-05 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #38: "Maj 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (PL) #59: "5/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- G.I Joe (PL) #27: "3/1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- Batman (PL) #54: "5/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- X-men (PL) #27: "5/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Transformers (PL) #24: "3/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-06 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #39: "Czerwiec 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-07 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #40: "Lipiec 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-08 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #41: "Sierpień 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek (PL) #1995-09 (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:
- Casper (PL) #4/95 (1995-xx-xx)
- X-men (PL) #34: "12/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (PL) #66: "12/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- G.I Joe (PL) #30: "6/1995" (1995-xx-xx)
- Batman (PL) #61: "12/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- The Adventures of Superman (PL) #61: "12/95" (1995-xx-xx)
- Tom & Jerry (PL) #12/95 (1995-xx-xx)
- (PL) #24: "3/1996" (1996-xx-xx)
On March 1, 1996 Bobmark got exclusive distributor license and released the Sega Saturn on event called Play Box 96.Although it has been on the market since then, full retail sales started in May 1996 after Gambleriada Wiosna 1996. Poland was the second priority market among the Eastern Bloc countries due to the second largest population in the region and the improving economy.The whole 1996 was marked by an aggressive advertising campaign against Sony PlayStation which was released on January 1, 1996. Sega's 32-bit console gained considerable popularity in Poland, but was not as popular as PlayStation due to the high price of consoles and games. 
Initially, Saturn was 300 zlotys cheaper than its competitor, but it did not last too long. In September 1996, the PlayStation price was reduced to PLN 999. As part of the marketing campaign, it was announced that the Saturn at the Bobmark's headquarters and in Makro Cash & Carry stores will cost PLN 999 while in other stores, the console with the game Daytona USA will be available for PLN 1198. Sony also lowered the price of games, which Bobmark decided not to. The difference was about PLN 20. System was promoted during games events like Turniej Virtua Fighter 2 and advertised on the new TV program Escape..
Bobmark continued to sell Mega Drive II and Game Gear. They also sold hardware and software remained from AGES distribution i.e Mega Drive I, Master System II and Mega Drive add-ons, until stocks were exhausted. Mega Drive was doing much better. Ever since Sega said it would support the sale of Mega Drive in Eastern Europe, local retailers have started trading the console. It can be said that since this year, 16-bit consoles have finally settled in Poland. This could be seen on the basis of magazines such as Secret Service, where in the January 1996, 20% of readers own consoles (PSX-5%, Pegasus-4%, CD32-3%, Jaguar-2%, Game Boy-2%, Rest-1%) and in 1997 already 27% of readers own consoles (PSX-5.7%, Game Boy-5.6%, Mega Drive-2.4%, Saturn-2%). The representative of Bobmark assured at Gambleriada Jesień 1996 that the company is aware of the existence of a large group of Mega Drive owners in Poland and will continue to support the console so that the owners don't have to throw it away.One of the elements of support by Sega was the purchase in January 1996 by TCI's technology group the rights to distribute Sega Channel in Poland. Although it is not known whether the service started in this country it is known from the annual reports that TCI owned shares in several Polish companies, such as BIP Poland, Aster City, Katowicka Telewizja Kablowa S.A., Regionala Telewizja Kablowa Autocom Sp. z o. o. in Kraków, Przedsiebiorstwo Rozwoju Handlu i TeleKomunikacji Sp z.o.o, Warszawskie Sieci Kablowe Sp Z.o. o and Telefonia Polska Zachod Sp. z o. o. In this year Klub Sega was established.
In 1997, Saturn's advertising began to slowly disappear. The last big promotion was Wygraj Samochód z Sega Saturn. This year stood under a rapid decline in the price of the console to adapt to the Playstation and Nintendo 64, with the price difference between Saturn and PSX games, despite the reductions, was always around 20 zlotys. During the summer of 1997 there was no new console ads. In September, Bobmark, knowing that in the years 1996-1997 suffers big losses and Saturn is not able to do anything anymore, decided to break the contract with Sega. Founders of Bobmark decided to focus on established in 1993 drink producer Hoop company which began to make a lot of more money than consoles distributor.
also published in:
also published in:
- The Amazing Spider-Man (PL) #76: "10/96" (1996-xx-xx)
- Batman (PL) #71: "10/96" (1996-xx-xx)
- Gambler (PL) #36: "11/1996" (1996-xx-xx)
- Batman (PL) #73: "12/96" (1996-xx-xx)
- Gambler (PL) #37: "12/1996" (1996-xx-xx)
- Batman Black & White (PL) #1: "1/97" (1997-01-01)
In October 1997, Lanser was chosen as the official exclusive distributor of Sega in Poland and already on the fifth edition of Gambleriada (October 24-26, 1997) it started the promotion of the Sega Saturn and reduced the price of the console to PLN 699, which was PLN 50 less than the PlayStation. At this price, in addition to the standard set, people get a Voyager pad, a discount of PLN 10 on each title purchased in the shipment from Lanser, and for sending the registration card, they get 3 issues of the Neo magazine for free. Additionally, Lanser has released some interesting Saturn sets with additional games to choose from, at very attractive prices. Lanser also offered Voyager pad for free, for buying two Saturn games. Many magazines have Dlaczego Saturn ?! ad where, based on the story of a 16-year-old boy, it was explained why Saturn is a better choice than other consoles.
In 1998, some importers have started selling Sega Nomad.
When Sega Dreamcast was released in Europe, none of the Polish distributors wanted to deal with distribution. Only retailers who started importing consoles with games and accessories from Germany remained. Dreamcast cost PLN 1,500 and retailers planned to sell at least 1,000 consoles in 1999.
On October 18, 2000, Lanser signed a contract with Sega for the distribution of Sega Dreamcast. The premiere was announced on December 1, 2000 at a starting price of PLN 999 and on this day the release of 45 games with Polish instructions was promised also with the back of the box translated into Polish using self-made stickers.Their number increased to 49 games, and 20 new titles were announced by the end of the year. Dreamcast Internet was announced for the third-fourth quarter of 2001. The late premiere was explained by the price of the console, which in 1999 was not favorable enough for Polish conditions.All these findings were further confirmed at the press conference held at the System fair.
During his lifetime, Dreamcast was called DeCek or Makaron (eng.Pasta) because of its logo. Until March 2001, there were 15,000 Dreamcast console owners in Poland. After reducing prices this month to PLN 699, Lanser managed to sell over another 10,000 consoles until September 2001. This month also saw another cut which also helped increase sales. Piracy was also helpful in selling.
also published in:
also published in:Secret Service (PL) #55: "Marzec 1998" (1998-xx-xx)
Sega PC games
In 1996-1997, Bobmark was responsible for the distribution of Sega PC games.
The Sega games released by Empire were distributed by Techland.
Sega amusement machines
In the 80s places with arcade machines were quite rare in Poland. Instead, the barracks with arcade machines that traveled around various places become popular. Initially, they were part of the circuses, which is why some called them the Drzymała's wagon. In the 90s, arcade machines became more popular. Bobmark also presented Sega machines at gaming events. With the end of the era of arcade machines in the rest of the world, this fashion also reached Poland.
CD Projekt and Cenega
In 2003, CDP became the exclusive distributor of Sega products. The cooperation lasted until 2014 in which the functions of the distributor were taken over by Cenega. This was due to problems in the CDP company.Cenega is still the official representative of Sega in Poland and throughout the Visegrad Group.
- File:Radioelektronik_PL_01.pdf, page 37
- Top Secret 8/1994 Bezkarnosc Gwarantowana III
- File:Gambler_PL_16_1995-03.pdf, page 32
- Gry Komputerowe 4/1994 page 12
- File:TopSecret PL 38.pdf, page 58
- File:Bajtek_PL_1996-01.pdf, page 49
- Top Secret 2/1997 Bezkarnosc Gwarantowana IV
- Wojownicze Żółwie Ninja, "2/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- File:Pegasus Golden Five Bajtek 1995.png
- Top Secret, "Kwiecień 1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 38
- The Amazing Spider-Man, "4/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Mega Marvel, "2/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Batman, "4/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek, "1995-05" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 54
- Top Secret, "Maj 1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 38
- The Amazing Spider-Man, "5/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- G.I Joe, "3/1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Batman, "5/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- X-men, "5/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Transformers, "3/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Bajtek, "1995-06" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 52
- Top Secret, "Czerwiec 1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 38
- Bajtek, "1995-07" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 58
- Top Secret, "Lipiec 1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 38
- Bajtek, "1995-08" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 60
- Top Secret, "Sierpień 1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 20
- Bajtek, "1995-09" (PL; 1995-xx-xx), page 60
- Casper, "4/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- X-men, "12/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- The Amazing Spider-Man, "12/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- G.I Joe, "6/1995" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Batman, "12/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- The Adventures of Superman, "12/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Tom & Jerry, "12/95" (PL; 1995-xx-xx)
- Gry Komputerowe, "3/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 32
- Gambler 52 Quo Vadis Sego ?
- Gambler 32 Sega Saturn Brakujący Element
- Secret Service #31 Bezkaronosc Gwarantowana 4
- Secret Service #56 Bezkaronosc Gwarantowana 5
- Gambler, "6/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- Gambler, "7/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- Gambler, "8/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 33
- Gambler, "9/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 41
- Secret Service, "Wrzesień 1996" (PL; 1996-08-01), page 75
- Secret Service, "Październik 1996" (PL; 1996-09-01), page 71
- Gry Komputerowe, "9-10/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 67
- Secret Service, "Listopad 1996" (PL; 1996-10-01), page 71
- Gry Komputerowe, "11/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 67
- Secret Service, "Grudzień 1996" (PL; 1996-11-01), page 56
- Gry Komputerowe, "12/1996" (PL; 1996-xx-xx), page 67
- File:SecretService_PL_51.pdf, page 74
- Neo #27 page 6
- Świat Gier Komputerowych, "11/1997" (PL; 1997-xx-xx), page 40
- Gry Komputerowe, "12/1997" (PL; 1997-xx-xx), page 12
- Świat Gier Komputerowych, "12/1997" (PL; 1997-xx-xx), page 24
- Neo, "Grudzień 1997" (PL; 1997-xx-xx), page 2
- Świat Gier Komputerowych, "1/1998" (PL; 1997-xx-xx), page 80
- Secret Service, "Styczeń 1998" (PL; 1998-xx-xx), page 14
- Click!, "24/2000" (PL; 2000-11-23), page 23
- Neo Plus, "Listopad 2000" (PL; 2000-xx-xx), page 18
- Click!, "25-26/2000" (PL; 2000-12-07), page 67
- Neo Plus, "Grudzień 2000" (PL; 2000-xx-xx), page 19
- Neo Plus, "Styczeń 2001" (PL; 2001-xx-xx), page 19
- Gry Komputerowe (PL) #44: "3/1998" (1998-xx-xx)