History of Sega in Ukraine

From Sega Retro

History of Sega in Ukraine
Official Sega distributor(s): Buka (1994-1999), Bitman (1996-1997), R-Style (1997-1999), NVT (2000-2002), Softprom (2007-2012), 1C-SoftClub, (20xx-20xx) Unknown (20xx-present)

Ukraine declared independence in 1991. Since that year, the country has been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and remained there until 2014 due to the country's crisis.

Video game consoles

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Dendy console, distributed by Steepler since 1993 in CIS countries, gained popularity. In November 1993, Sega entered the Russian market with the help of Nissho Iwai and Forrus. At that time, no distribution channel had yet been established for the CIS countries, so the inhabitants had to settle for the numerous clones that began to flock to these regions. One of the sellers of such clones was Steepler, which started selling Pro 16 Bit and High Quality. Soon Steepler and the newly formed Dendy chain of stores began selling consoles under the names Mega Drive 2, some of which were original imported from Asia and others were clones that looked like the originals. Genesis CDX consoles were also sold, as well as games for the above systems in various specifications (Asian, American and Bootleg)

By 1994/1995 the first officially-licensed Sega products arrived in the CIS. Nissho Iwai began expanding into the CIS territories and managed to get resellers in the region. One of the main distributing companies selling Sega products was Buka. Thanks to that, CIS countries got the Mega Drive 2 (European PAL and Asian PAL), Sega Saturn (Asian NTSC and later European PAL), Sega Mega-CD model 2 (Asian NTSC and European PAL), Sega Game Gear (European PAL), Master System 2 (European PAL) and Sega 32X (unknown specification). Steepler / Dendy also started selling the Mega Drive 2 console from the official Nissho Iwai channels, so thanks to this, the original consoles could also be found in their stores, although they were still more expensive than fakes.

At the same time, the number of specialized resellers of the counterfeit Sega and Dendy consoles has increased. The two most important sellers at the time were Bitman with Super Bitman and Turbo Bitman and Kenga with Mega-Ken and the fake Mega Drive II (the second company obtained the rights to officially sell Multi Mega in 1995 in CIS countries)

Kenga created its own TV program called Kenga Predstavlyaet to promote it's games. Steepler, on the other hand, supported the Hrayutʹ Usi! There was also a Sega Ostrov show and some rumors say that the Russian series Sonic - Super Hedgehog was also broadcast in Ukraine.

Despite the large piracy, Sega recognized Mega Drive as a success in the CIS countries. To act even more effectively against piracy, in 1996 Bitman, became the distributor No.1 of Sega Europe in both Russia and the CIS, replacing Forrus role. Bitman distribute the Mega Drive 2, Sega Saturn , Sega Mega-CD model 2, Sega Game Gear, Sega 32X and Sega Pico in addition to the Super Bitman all in the European PAL system.[1][2] After the success of Mega Drive, Sega had high hopes for the distribution of Sega Saturn. The Russian and CIS markets have become a priority among former Eastern Bloc countries.[3] Despite the efforts of Buka and Bitman, Sega Saturn just as in other countries of the world did not sell as good as Mega Drive.

In 1997, Bitman was acquired by R-Style, which inherited the former's distribution agreement. R-Style continued selling Saturn (European PAL and NTSC-U), Mega Drive II (European PAL), Mega CD II (European PAL) and Pico (European PAL).

Sega Dreamcast has also reached Ukraine. In 2000 NVT was appointed a distributor and started selling consoles.[4] Consoles were sold along with Russian documents. The end of 2000 was marked by a boom for DC consoles in the CIS countries, which was related to the mass distribution of Russified versions of games (pirated ones) and the decrease in prices of the console and games thanks to official distribution.[5] Despite the failure of Dreamcast in the world, in the CIS countries the console was well received and could be bought until the end of 2003. The original games were rare and pirate games were popular, which were translated into Russian. Several companies producing unoriginal Russian translations such as Vector, had their representatives in the CIS.[6]

In the early 2000s, in addition to the Mega Drive clones from Russia, there were also Ukrainian Sega clones. Their advantage was that the boxes and instructions were localized in Ukrainian. There were two major brands of such clones. The first is Mega Drive with variants such as Mega Drive One, Mega Drive 2 and Mega Drive III. The second was Kombat with variants like Kombat 16, Super Kombat, and Kombat Obuchayushchii. In later years and today, most of the clones distributed in Ukraine come from Russia.

Softprom and 1C SoftClub

Softprom took over the distribution of games in 2007 and ended it in 2012.[7]

In the following years, the games were published by the 1C company. The company's branch - 1C SoftClub had partners in this region. 1C published several Sega games before 2013. In 2019, SoftClub stopped selling games in Ukraine. Sega games are still available in digital distribution and Ukraine itself belongs to the RU-CIS-UA region when it comes to digital keys. Until 2018, digital game distribution platforms such as Steam suggested lower prices for this region. This was mainly due to piracy.

Sega Amusement

Since 2006, the distribution of arcade machines and equipment for children produce by Sega is being carried out by KidsPlay.[8]

QubicaAMF is a strategic partner in Russia and CIS countries.


Sititek is the official distributor of Sega Toys in Russia and CIS countries.[9]


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