History of Sega in the CIS

From Sega Retro

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History of Sega in the CIS
Official Sega distributor(s): Buka (1994-1999), Bitman (1996-1997), R-Style (1997-1999), NVT (2000-2002) , 1C-SoftClub (2004-present), Best Distribution (2016-present)
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History of Sega in the CIS
Official Sega distributor(s): Buka (1994-1999), Bitman (1996-1997), R-Style (1997-1999), NVT (2000-2002) , 1C-SoftClub (2004-present),

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was established after the dissolusion of the Soviet Union. Consisting of former Soviet republics, it is a trading bloc that is often treated as one "region".

The CIS consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Russia is also a member of the CIS, however it is generally classed as a separate entity in terms of trade due to its size and prominence on the world stage. Until 2008 Georgia was also part of the union, however left due to the 2008 conflict with Russia but it still belongs to these distribution area.


Initially, Sega had no official representitives across the CIS region, and similar to Russia, very little protection was in place to stop companies from infringing on Western video game copyrights. As such, Steepler, which had rose to prominance in the newly-created Russian video game market by selling unlicensed Dendy consoles (i.e. Famicom clones), expanded into CIS markets around 1993. Steepler would go on to sell its Mega Drive clone, the Pro 16 Bit, as well as imported Asian model 2 Sega Mega Drives and North American Sega Multi-Megas also with games from this region.[1]The company also brought pirate games from Asia.

Forrus became an official distributor of Sega products in Russia, however its reach never expanded into the CIS region. This gave Steepler an advantage, however video game consoles as a whole were often beyond the realms of affordability to the often economically weak former Soviet states. Furthermore, content was aimed at Russian-speaking audiences, and while many Russian speakers reside in these areas, numerous languages and cultures across the CIS are not thought to have been catered for.

Bitman and R-Style

In 1994, Nissho Iwai offered Buka (Бука) the status of authorized distributor, so the company also began selling consoles from Forrus.[2] Buka managed to get along with Steepler and Dendy for the sale of original Mega Drive 2 but company sold them at a more expensive price than unofficials. After Forrus fail, Nissho Iwai gave Buka full distribution rights and appointed them as Sega representative in CIS. By 1994/1995 the first officially-licensed Sega products arrived in the CIS, including 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).

In 1995, Sega got along with Kenga (a company that sold Mega Drive clones in CIS) to distribute Sega Multi Mega.

Despite the large piracy, Sega recognized Mega Drive as a success in the CIS. To act even more effectively against piracy, in 1996 Bitman, who have been selling its own Mega Drive clones in the region at the time, became the distributor No.1 of Sega Europe in both Russia and the CIS, replacing Forrus' role in the latter.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.[3][4]

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.[5] 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).

In the CIS countries, most of the distribution was hold by Russian companies, so in these place Russian game crisis of 1998 have also some impact.

Sega Dreamcast

Sega Dreamcast has also reached the CIS .In 2000 NVT was appointed a distributor and started selling consoles.[6] 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.[7] Until now, consoles could be bought from imports (usually from Japan) at a high price.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.[8]

1C SoftClub

In 2004 SoftClub became a distributor of Sega , and later became a part of the company 1C.

The only Sega game that distribution has been stopped in CIS countries was Company of Heroes 2.[9]

Best Distribution

Sega games in Moldova are sold by Best Distribution since 2016. Russian versions of the game from 1C are also available but are more popular in the Transnistria region.

Mega Drive Mini

Due to the fact that the console was not released in Russia, the status of Mega Drive Mini in the CIS countries is unknown. However, consoles can be bought from international distributors and local importers. Best Distribution deals with the official distribution of consoles in Moldova.

Mega Drive clones

In the CIS countries, can still be find Sega Mega Drive clones. Most of them are from Russia.

Sega Amusement

Since 2006, the distribution of arcade machines and equipment for children produce by Sega is being carried out by KidsPlay.[10]

QubicaAMF is a strategic partner in Russia and CIS countries.


Sititek is the official distributor of Sega Toys in Russia and CIS countries.[11]


History of Sega by Country
Afghanistan | Armenia | Azerbaijan | Bahrain | Bangladesh | Bhutan | Brunei | Cambodia | China | Georgia | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Iran | Iraq | Israel | Japan | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Kuwait | Kyrgyzstan | Laos | Lebanon | Malaysia | Maldives | Mongolia | Myanmar | Nepal | North Korea | Oman | Pakistan | Philippines | Qatar | Russia | Saudi Arabia | Singapore | South Korea | Sri Lanka | Syria | Taiwan | Tajikistan | Thailand | East Timor | Turkey | Turkmenistan | United Arab Emirates | Uzbekistan | Vietnam | Yemen
North America
Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Belize | Canada | Costa Rica | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | El Salvador | Grenada | Guatemala | Haiti | Honduras | Jamaica | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | Puerto Rico | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago | USA
South America
Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Suriname | Uruguay | Venezuela
Albania | Andorra | Austria | Belarus | Belgium | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus | Czechia | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Greece | Greenland | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Moldova | Monaco | Montenegro | Netherlands | North Macedonia | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | San Marino | Serbia | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Ukraine | United Kingdom
Australia and Oceania
Australia | Fiji | Guam | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Micronesia | Nauru | New Zealand | Palau | Papua New Guinea | Samoa | Solomon Islands | Tonga | Tuvalu | Vanuatu
Algeria | Angola | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cabo Verde | Cameroon | Central African Republic | Chad | Comoros | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Djibouti | Egypt | Equatorial Guinea | Eritrea | Eswatini | Ethiopia | Gabon | Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Ivory Coast | Kenya | Lesotho | Liberia | Libya | Madagascar | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mauritius | Morocco | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Republic of the Congo | Rwanda | Sao Tome and Principe | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia | South Africa | Sudan | Tanzania | Togo | Tunisia | Uganda | Zambia | Zimbabwe