Sega of America

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Sega of America
Founded: March 21, 1985 (as "Sega Enterprises (USA)")[1]
Headquarters: Irvine, California, United States

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Sega of America, Inc. (SoA) is the company responsible for Sega's North American operations. SoA's current incarnation is a result of a merger between Sega Enterprises USA and another subsidiary named Sega of America.



The incarnation of Sega Enterprises, Inc. that was owned by Gulf+Western had traded as "Sega of America" during the 1970s[2][3][4], mainly referring to its electro-mechanical and discrete logic arcade products (and the Sega-Vision). This name fell out of use when SEI bought Gremlin Industries - Gremlin would act as Sega's way into the fledgling video game market (with SEI's game production facilities wound down), later trading as Gremlin/Sega and Sega/Gremlin before becoming Sega Electronics in 1982. While Sega Electronics was able to make a name for itself during the early 1980s, even producing games for home consoles, its assets were sold to Bally Midway in 1983, leaving Sega without a video game presence in the US for nearly two years.


Sega Enterprises, Ltd. established a subsidiary that would release its arcade games in North America. It was founded as SE, Inc. on March 21, 1985, but its name was changed to Sega Enterprises, Inc. (U.S.A.) seven days later.[1] Another subsidiary, Sega of America, Inc., was established on March 10, 1986[5][6] to assist with consumer products. The two subsidiaries co-existed for several years.

At first, Sega of America allied with Tonka for Master System distribution, though following the launch of the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in North America), it began to play a much more significant role in the industry. Sega of America's efforts greatly influenced the video game industry as we know it today (for example, it created the VRC ratings board, which led to first industry-wide system, the ESRB)

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Sega of America outsourced development for a number of home console games to third-party developers, playing an advisory role throughout the development process. While Sega owned development studios in the US (such as Sega Technical Institute), "Sega of America" is not thought to have had any in-house game programmers or artists, instead being more concerned with marketing and distribution, as well its large quality assurance team. SoA also had a say in hardware decisions - the Sega 32X for example is an American invention, and a great deal of American-led work was put into developing the Sega Dreamcast.

Struggles selling the Sega Saturn in North America led to Japan scaling back its overseas development studios. During this period far fewer games were made in the States, meaning SoA has less influence on game development outside of testing.

During the Dreamcast era, Sega of America came back strong, due to Visual Concepts and the 2K games - as well as strong marketing reminiscent of the Genesis days. Like on Saturn, the bias was more towards localizing Japanese games however. In 2005, Sega of America was hit with a large scale restructuring, with it being designed to appeal more to the Western market, due to it being becoming larger than the Japanese market. This however led to numerous questionable games, with some games being some of the worst in Sega's history. This includes licensed games The Golden Compass, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Iron Man, as well ill fated attempts to reboot SoJ franchises such as with Golden Axe: Beast Rider and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.


Sega Enterprises Inc. (U.S.A.) was merged with Sega of America, Inc. on April 1, 2008,[1] and Sega of America became the new company's name.

Around 2015, Sega was evaluating on how they should handle the American branch in the future. Effectively, SoA was relocated from San Francisco to Irvine, California, to share the same office with Atlus USA, which Sega had acquired earlier. The main purpose of the new Sega of America and Atlus USA, is to localize the Japanese games of their respective parent company. In addition, a dedicated office for the Sonic franchise in Burbank, California exists as well.

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For many years it was believed that America could not produce video games to Japanese standards - SoA's first home-grown game, Monopoly needed to be "saved" from poor quality production and impending delays in 1988, and this trend often continued, with SoA adopting a policy of quantity over quality (attempting to develop and publish significantly more games than rivals Nintendo to give the impression that Sega systems were backed by more developers, and were hence seen as superior). Over time, Sega of America became the dominant force within Sega, largely thanks to luminous executive Tom Kalinske. This was in thanks to marketing strategies of the Genesis in the US, as well as a strong line-up of games that defined Sega's library like Ecco the Dolphin, ToeJam & Earl, Comix Zone, as well as sports games and other games based on western licenses and movies. The marketing influence of the Sonic The Hedgehog series is also of note, although besides Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the game development staff remained Japanese throughout.

In the mid 90's, SoA largely fell of due to Sega Saturn compatibility and development being very hard for developers. During that period, Tom Kalinske generally disagreed with the policies of Sega of Japan, and went on to do edutainment, which was influenced by SoA's own efforts (mostly by Novotrade) on the Sega Pico. Another venture was SegaSoft an off-shoot branch that focused on original PC games, formed around the mid 90's.


Unlike in Sega of Japan, all games are created with an external company

Master System

Mega Drive

Game Gear

Sega CD


Sega 32X

Sega Saturn


PlayStation 2

GameBoy Advance



Nintendo DS

PlayStation Portable

Xbox 360


PlayStation 3

Nintendo 3DS

Wii U

Xbox One

PlayStation 4

Nintendo Switch


External links


Overseas Sega companies, studios and subsidiaries
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CSK Sega Sammy Holdings
Sega of America
Sega Technical Institute
Sega Away Team
Sega Europe
Sega France Sega France
Sega España Sega España
Sega Interactive
Sega Germany Sega Germany
Sega Taiwan
Sega Benelux Sega Benelux
Sega Multimedia Studio
Sega Midwest Studio
Sega Amusements USA
Deith Leisure Sega Amusements Europe Sega Amusements International
Sega Total Solutions
Sega Prize Europe
Sega Music Group
Sega Entertainment
No Cliche
Sega of America Dreamcast
Sonic Team USA Sega Studios USA
Visual Concepts
Sega Mobile Sega Networks Inc.
Sega Publishing Korea
Sega of China
The Creative Assembly
Sega Studios San Francisco
Sports Interactive
Sega Studios Australia
Three Rings Design
Relic Entertainment
Atlus USA
Demiurge Studios
Go Game
Amplitude Studios