Sega Corporation (株式会社セガ, Kabushiki-kaisha Sega), officially stylized as SEGA, is a multinational video game software and hardware development company, as well as previously a home computer and former console manufacturer.
Currently headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan, the company is famous for many notable game franchises, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Bayonetta, Virtua Fighter, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Sakura Wars, and Valkyria Chronicles. It also includes franchises from companies under their division or acquired by them such as Puyo Puyo, which was acquired in 1998 from Compile, and Yakuza and Judgment from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. Sega was notably Nintendo's greatest rival company during the fourth generation console war with the launch of the Sega Genesis. Since then, the company has made frequent collaborations with Nintendo, including releasing exclusive games for their consoles and occasionally developing games involving their IPs, such as F-Zero GX, F-Zero AX and the Mario & Sonic crossover sports series.
Sega's origins can be traced back to 1940 with the founding of a company named Standard Games, a developer of coin-operated amusement and gambling machines meant for military use in Honolulu, Hawaii. After selling Standard Games in 1945, the founders created Service Games in 1946, which served a similar purpose. Service Games would expand into many other countries, with Japan being particularly successful. Also around this time in 1954, the first appearance of the SEGA logo appears on the Diamond Star slot machine. After increasing pressure from the US government looking into the criminal business practices of gambling, most of the company was dissolved on May 31st, 1960. On June 3rd of that year, Martin Bromley, one of the founders, formed two different companies. Nihon Goraku Bussan, the first company, was made to acquire the remains of Service Games and act as distributor of the machines that Nihon Kikai Seizō, the second company, would develop. The companies would merge in 1964, retaining the Nihon Goraku Bussan name. The company would then acquire Japanese photo booth distributor Rosen Enterprises and and was renamed to SEGA Enterprises Ltd. In 1969, Sega would be sold to Gulf and Western Industries, who would act as their parent company and distributor.
Sega, now called SEGA Enterprises Inc., would see major growth throughout the 1970s during the arcade boom. Early hits include games like Periscope, Love Tester, Heavyweight Champ, Monaco GP, and Head On, along with securing the license to Frogger. After arcade revenue started to wane in the early 1980's, Gulf and Western decided to sell off the arcade division of Sega to Bally Manufacturing while retaining the R&D division. Also at this time, Sega decided to move to the home hardware industry. This led to the SC-3000 computer and the SG-1000 game console in 1983. While not failures, both were greatly outpaced by the Famicom. However, this was enough for Gulf and Western to sell off the remainder of Sega. An investor group led by former executives bought all the splintered assets in 1984 to form the modern Sega Enterprises Ltd. Sega would then redesign the SG-1000 into the Sega Mark III in 1985, known internationally as the Master System. While performing much better and dominating the console market in some regions, the Master System was still behind the Famicom, which broke out into other regions as the Nintendo Entertainment System.
In 1985, Sega formally ended their relationship with Bally and reentered the arcade scene internationally, creating some of the better-known arcade titles of the late 1980s. At this time, they focused on a style of gaming known as 体感 (taikan, literally "body experience"); these were arcade titles with moving cabinets designed to emulate experiences that couldn't be recreated with a standard control scheme, such as driving vehicles. Well-known hits during this time include Hang-On, Out Run, and After Burner. The company additionally introduced the UFO Catcher in 1985, which remains the most widely-distributed Japanese claw crane to this day. Bolstered by their success in the arcades, they decided to create a new home console that would directly compete with Nintendo, and in 1988, they launched the Sega Mega Drive, known as the Genesis in certain regions. While seeing initial profit, Nintendo almost immediately dented their revenue forecast by debuting the Super Famicom in 1990, releasing in other regions as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System a year later.
By 1991, Sega made a plan to drop the price of all systems and bundle the console with Sonic the Hedgehog, a game featuring a new mascot designed to directly contend with Nintendo's Mario. This proved to be a highly successful move, even briefly over taking Nintendo in market share and starting what came to be known as the fourth generation console war. Sega would redesign their console several times, as well as release addons such as the Mega CD and Sega 32X, which received generally mixed reception. Sega also created the portable Game Gear using the same architecture as the Mark III; despite being more technologically advanced than Nintendo's Game Boy, it ultimately did not make as much of an impact due to a number of design issues, notably its inferior battery life. By the end of the generation, Nintendo would retake their dominance in the console industry due to brand confusion caused by Sega's poor marketing and the failure of the Mega Drive's addons. Despite this, Sega was still kept afloat by its arcade development; they were one of the first companies to embrace fully 3D-rendered games, releasing groundbreaking titles such as Virtua Racing, Daytona USA, and Virtua Fighter.
With their next console, the Saturn, Sega's American branch announced that it would release on September 2nd, 1995, but surprised everyone—including third-party developers and distributors—when they later announced the Saturn would actually release ahead of schedule on May 11th. This resulted in a stunted launch that soured public relations and created a tense atmosphere within the company, culminating in the resignation of Sega of America's then-president, Tom Kalinske. While the Saturn performed modestly well in its native Japan, it never matched the numbers of the preceding Mega Drive; in America, it never recovered from its rocky launch, and in both regions it lagged behind the competing Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Additionally, developers struggled to work with the console's complicated hardware, as it was intended primarily for 2D games at a time where 3D gaming was beginning to dominate the home console scene. After a mere three years on the market, Sega discontinued the Saturn and developed a new console intended to remedy these problems.
Released in 1998 in Japan and 1999 elsewhere, the Dreamcast was developed based on Sega's 3D arcade hardware at the time, and included a number of revolutionary features, such as native Internet connectivity and a controller that doubled as a memory card. Despite initially having a successful launch, its problems stemmed primarily from being released at the wrong time; the advanced hardware and features resulted in a high price tag for the console and its games, and the 2000 release of the PlayStation 2 completely overshadowed the rest of its lifespan, resulting in a rapidly-shrinking consumer base. On January 31st, 2001, Sega announced that it would officially pull out of the console market and become a third party developer and publisher, which is how it operates today. On October 1st, 2004, they merged with Japanese pachinko company Sammy Corporation to form Sega Sammy Holdings; Sega Corporation still exists as a subsidiary of the company. On September 2013, Sega Sammy Holdings acquired Atlus, obtaining the publishing rights for franchises such as the Megami Tensei series and its various subseries such as Persona.
Sega was described as being in "special collaboration" with Nintendo regarding Sonic's inclusion in Brawl, where he and Solid Snake became the first third-party characters to appear in the series. Additionally, other characters from the Sonic franchise, such as Shadow, Tails, Knuckles, and Silver, have minor roles in Brawl, and the iconic Sonic level, Green Hill Zone, appears as a stage. Content from F-Zero GX also makes its Super Smash Bros. debut in this game in the form of music, stickers and updated designs of featured F-Zero characters.
Jun Senoue was brought in to do an arrangement for the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Angel Island Zone.
Sega's mascot Sonic returns as a third-party character in Super Smash Bros. 4. Additionally, Windy Hill Zone, a stage from their Nintendo (3DS/Wii U) exclusive Sonic Lost World, appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, while Green Hill Zone returns from Brawl in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Two Mii Brawler costumes based on Akira Yuki and Jacky Bryant from Sega's Virtua Fighter series appear as downloadable content. In addition, Mii costumes based off Knuckles and Tails appear for the Mii Brawlers and the Mii Gunners, respectively. Bayonetta from the Bayonetta series is another newcomer, available as DLC. She is Sega's second playable fighter in Super Smash Bros.
Both Sonic and Bayonetta return as third-party playable characters. In addition, the Green Hill Zone stage returns from Brawl and for 3DS as well as the Windy Hill Zone stage from for Wii U and the Umbra Clock Tower stage from both versions of Smash 4. Shadow returns as an Assist Trophy. Knuckles, Rodin, and Akira Yuki also debut as new Assist Trophies. Akira and Jacky Bryant also return as Mii Brawler costumes. Joker from Persona 5, developed and published by Sega's subsidiary Atlus, makes an appearance as a DLC character.
Jun Senoue makes a return to Ultimate with Mega Man 4 Medley, along with new arrangers for Ultimate with Tomoya Ohtani with Bomb Rush Blush, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi with F-ZERO Medley, and Hideaki Kobayashi with Midna's Lament.