History of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro

From Sega Retro

Serbia Montenegro 
History of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro
Official Sega distributor(s): Nissho Iwai (1990-1995), ActiveMagic (1996-1998), Beosoft (1994-2002), Videotop (2004-2010), Computerland (2010-2015), Videotop (2016-2018), Iris Mega (2018-present)

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Between 1992 and 2003, Serbia and Montenegro were unified as a single state known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY); not to be confused with the earlier Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) which in the 1990s was in the process of breaking up into its pre-communist constituents). From 2003 the state was known as "Serbia and Montenegro" before both halves declared independence from each other in 2006.

Socialist Yugoslavia

Socialist Yugoslavia did not belong to the Warsaw Pact making it more open to Western technologies than the countries of the Eastern Bloc. In the 70s Yugoslavia was one of the countries where Sega imported its game machines.[1] As in other communist countries, local companies created their own consoles, such as the Geti-3220 produced by the Slovenian company Gorenje from 1977. Foreign consoles also reached the country but in small numbers.

Sega Master System was introduced to Yugoslavia in 1990[2] by Nissho Iwai, who supplied local Yugoslavian distributors with consoles and games. Video games for the systems were reviewed in Svet Kompjutera magazine from September 1990 to January 1991 and Svet Igara reviewed accessories for the system. In March 25, 1991, the first Sega club was found called Video Games Club were people could rent Master System console. The creation of further distribution network was cut shortly after breakup of the state in June 1991.

Serbia and Montenegro

Mega Drive popularity

After break up of Yugoslavia, Nissho Iwai returned in early 1992 and still promoted Master System[3] with different models like Master System Plus and Super System. In the years 1992-1993, more sub-distributors began to deal with sell of consoles, so original Master System could be seen in the same place with consoles like Brick Game and Atari “Rambo” clone.

The Mega Drive, Game Gear and Master System II were deliver to more specialized video game retailers in 1993, were it could be seen with other new system in this region like NES, Game Boy or Lynx.[4]

In 1994, Mega Drive II was released and it is known that it was provide to various amusement parks where served as arcades. In the middle of the same year, the most popular domestic suppliers such as DigiTech[5] and Beosoft[6] began selling Sega consoles as authorized distributors. All sales moved slowly, but in early 1995, when Amiga computers which were popular in Yugoslavia went in crisis, sales of Sega consoles jumped sharply. In 1995-1996, Mega Drive was the most-popular console on the market.[7] Many shops and people began to create Sega Klubovi and Segoteka. These were places where customer could buy, rent, repair or play on Sega consoles. Every such place had Mega Drive, larger had Game Gear with Master System II or Mega Drive add-ons. Until February 1996, existed 600 Segateka’s in whole country[8]. Sega Pećina (eng. Sega Cave) was built in the Obilićev Venac shopping area in Belegrad and was marketed as place with widest range of choice of games and consoles by Sega[9]. Sega Mega CD and Mega Drive 32X were released, but they remained niche and could be bought mostly from specialized retailers. Other major distributors who promoted Sega were Biosfera Media which with its action and aggressive marketing campaign imposed Sega standards,[10] and KonTiki[11].

There was also a shows about Sega consoles. The most famous was Sega Klinci broadcast by RTV Pink[12] but before that there was also Game Over broadcast by Kanal 9.

There existed few related tournaments to Sega, such as II Otvoreno Prvenstvo Beograda u Kompjuterskim Igrama. In a few memories there is a character of Čeda who was the so-called King of Sega Klinci, he participated in this tournament.

Sega had competition in form of Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System (distributed from late 1993 by Beosoft[13][14]), Super Nintendo (distributed from late 1994 by Beosoft[15]), Atari Lynx[16], Amiga CD32 (distributed from December 1993 by Amiga Centar[17]) and 3DO.

Print advert in AS Magazin-Video Igrice (YU) #13: "Jul-Avgust 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #133: "Oktobar 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
also published in:

Mega Drive clones

In Yugoslavia, two versions of the original Mega Drive were released: first one was the Asian market variant, released in order to lower the prices of 16-bit Sega. It was sold in two combinations: the green box model (from 1994) and the black box model (from 1995). The second one was European version, mostly sold in bundle with 2 control pads and Sonic 2, was report to be more popular on this market than previous version. Such variants of consoles caused a large influx of unofficial consoles that were difficult to distinguish from the original.[30]

The first problematic copy was the Asian version reworked to break the regional blockade. It looked the same as the original, but it differed in the serial number.[31]

The most dangerous clone was from the Taiwan, which like the original, was sold in green box. However, it was of poorer quality and displayed a worse sounds and image on TV and thats why it was cheaper than the original. It differed in the serial numbers from the original.[32]

Sega sa buvljaka (eng. Sega from the flea market) was a famiclone that had a black pistol added with, which looked like a Light Phaser. It was sold in a green box, but on the cover it had a gun. The design of the console was take from Sega Mega Drive II, so many people in the region called this console Pijacna Sega (eng. Market Sega) or Kineska Sega (eng. Chinese Sega). Due to the popularity of these two, it is possible to come across people in Serbia who mistake Mega Drive with Nintendo NES, because in childhood they played games such as Super Mario Bros or Tank 1990 on these clones. Another Nintendo Famicom clone on the market was called Terminator 2 which box design resemble Sega Mega Drive 2.

Another clone was Star Drive II which looked like the less popular in the country Sega Mega Drive model I. Similar to it was another clone called Saba which was inferior in quality.[33]

Game piracy was a big problem here. This was the case with major distributors like for example Beosoft, Digitech and Biosfera Media who tried to encourage customers in this way to buy the original console in exchange for the opportunity to purchase cheaper bootleg copies of games, which was important during the economic crisis that hit Yugoslavia at that time. This resulted in Asian bootlegs standing on store shelves next to the original European games. Of course, to buy a pirated copy of newest games, customer had to wait a few months, so he could buy only the original cart between that time. The positive effects of pirate activities were the increase of sales of original consoles in the country and wide range of titles that couldn't be purchased in Europe because they were never released there. Game Gear and Mega Drive got multicarts released here.[34][35]

Saturn and Dreamcast

Photo of ActiveMagic's founder - Milan Stajčić, near Sega's stand on electronic show

After Sega Europe took duties from Nissho Iwai in mid-1995, Sega Saturn was delivered to specialized retailers by Christmas 1995 with high price of 900 DEM[36], with ActiveMagic, a London based company that provided in late 80s and early 90s original Sega software for home computers[37], as exclusive distributor and representative for FRY[38]. Larger sales were supposed to start in May 1996[39], but the console remained little known in the country and was sold only by few stores. In the years 1997-1998, situation didn’t changed and most of the resellers moved to PlayStation (distributed from December 1995 by various retailers like KonTiki, DigiTech, Total Games, Beosoft etc., which from late 90s was taken over by Sony Overseas S.A) and some for Nintendo 64 (distributed from March 1997 by Beosoft). Mega Drive was still popular in this years, but with the time people began to switch to newer systems and still 16-bit Sega could be bought until end of 1999 from larger retailers.

Sega Dreamcast was released locally in 2000. Beosoft which held the status of Sega's authorized distributor for FRY since 1994, sold the console in the country[40]. The system learned from Saturn mistakes and was available in most known video game retailers with promotion in video games magazine such as Bonus. Dreamcast was seen in catalogues in early 2003[41] for the last time and despite being much more successful than Saturn, it didn’t beat Mega Drive sells here.

Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #136: "Januar 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #51: "Decembar 1988" (1988-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in Svet Kompjutera (YU) #135: "Decembar 1995" (1995-xx-xx)
Print advert in Bonus (YU) #7: "7/2000" (2000-09-25)
also published in:

After Dreamcast

In 2004, Sega started cooperation with Videotop. From 2010 to 2015, Computerland was a distributor of Sega in Serbia and Montenegro, but Videotop return in 2016 as a distributor of Sega in all former Yugoslavia[53]In 2017, Videotop became the property of Computerland Group.[54] In 2018, Videotop was acquired by Colby which also belongs to the Computerland Group. The distribution was taken over by Iris Mega.


  1. File:Sega_Company_Profile_1970.pdf
  2. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #73: "Oktobar 1990" page 45
  3. Sega Master System Svet Kompjutera 3/1992 page 40
  4. O konzolama Svet Kompjutera 12/1993 page 38
  5. Konzole Svet Kompjutera 12/1994 page 51
  6. Sega Mega Drive Svet Kompjutera 09/1995 page 82
  7. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  8. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  9. Nagrade i Nagradeni - As Magazin Video Igrice #17 page 4
  10. Sega-Video Igrice - AS Magazin-Video Igrice 13 page 4
  11. Kontiki Svet Kompjutera 12/1995 page 40
  12. Nagrade i Nagradeni - As Magazin Video Igrice #17 page 4
  13. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?auto=&page=38&all=SK_93_12
  14. Nekoliko razloga za Nintendo Game Boy Svet Kompjutera 03/1994 page 71
  15. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?auto=&page=68&all=SI_94_12
  16. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?auto=&page=38&all=SK_93_12
  17. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?auto=&page=54&all=SK_93_12
  18. Svet Kompjutera, "Jul/Avgust 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 2
  19. Svet Kompjutera, "Septembar 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 32
  20. Mikijev Zabavnik, "" (SCG; 1995-10-25)
  21. Mikijev Zabavnik, "" (SCG; 1995-11-01)
  22. Mikijev Zabavnik, "" (SCG; 1995-11-08)
  23. Svet Kompjutera, "Novembar 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 84
  24. Svet Kompjutera, "Decembar 1995" (YU; 1995-xx-xx), page 90
  25. Svet Kompjutera, "Januar 1996" (YU; 1996-xx-xx), page 92
  26. Mikijev Zabavnik, "" (SCG; 1996-01-31)
  27. Svet Kompjutera, "Februar 1996" (YU; 1996-xx-xx), page 77
  28. Svet Kompjutera, "Mart 1996" (YU; 1996-xx-xx), page 92
  29. Svet Kompjutera, "April 1996" (YU; 1996-xx-xx), page 92
  30. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  31. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  32. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  33. Svet Kompjutera (SCG) #137: "Februar 1996" page 84
  34. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?page=56&all=SK_95_12
  35. http://retrospec.sgn.net/users/tomcat/yu/magshow.php?auto=&page=2&all=SK_95_07
  36. Kontiki Svet Kompjutera 12/1995 page 40
  37. Activemagic i Svet kompjutera Programeri-paznaja! Svet Kompjutera 1/1989 page 61
  38. Svet Kompjutera 01/1996 page 87
  39. https://www.telecompaper.com/news/32-bit-consoles-to-be-launched-in-may-1996--81064
  40. Bonus #7: "7/2000" (2000-09-25) page 82
  41. Beosoft Katalog #18 Decembar-Januar 2002/2003
  42. Svet Kompjutera, "Januar 1989" (YU; 1989-xx-xx), page 61
  43. Svet Kompjutera, "Februar 1989" (YU; 1989-xx-xx), page 12
  44. Svet Kompjutera, "Mart 1989" (YU; 1989-xx-xx), page 2
  45. Bonus, "8/2000" (YU; 2000-10-25), page 82
  46. Bonus, "9/2000" (YU; 2000-12-25), page 82
  47. Bonus, "1/2001" (YU; 2001-02-25), page 82
  48. Bonus, "2/2001" (YU; 2001-03-25), page 82
  49. Bonus, "3/2001" (YU; 2001-04-25), page 82
  50. Bonus, "4/2001" (YU; 2001-05-25), page 48
  51. Bonus, "5/2001" (YU; 2001-06-25), page 2
  52. Bonus, "6/2001" (YU; 2001-07-25), page 46
  53. http://www.videotop.si/en/videotop-je-postal-uradni-zastopnik-zaloznika-sega/
  54. http://www.videotop.si/druzba-iris-mega-d-o-o-kupila-druzbo-videotop-skupina-d-o-o/
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