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Everybody is familiar with these two names: Sega and Nintendo. Either because of the popular games they released or because of the gaming platforms they created.
Sega and Nintendo are two of the most popular gaming systems of all time, but which one was founded first?
Nintendo was founded in 1933 while Sega was founded in 1960. However, neither of these companies made video games or gaming consoles when they were first founded.
Sega was formed by a merger of two slot machine developers in 1960. Although Sega did not actually release its first gaming console until 1983. Nintendo on the other hand was originally founded as a playing card company in 1933, but did not have the name Nintendo until 1951.
Nintendo was unofficially founded all the way back in 1889, they didn’t released its first gaming console called color tv game series in 1977
These two giants of the video game industry have many common points: They both are from Japan, and both their names are associated with the most famous games ever published and they both released the most popular gaming platforms in the world.
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The History Of Nintendo
There are only a few companies in the world whose name is universally known, but when it comes to the video game industry there are two giants that everybody knows: Nintendo and Sega. Even if you don’t like video games these two names ring a bell just like Coca Cola or Pepsi.
They are among the two largest video game businesses in the world and have been competing with each other for market share just like Coke and Pepsi for a long time.
To achieve such a universal recognition does not happen in one day and these two giants of the digital entertainment business have a long history behind them. Both Nintendo and Sega are known for widely acclaimed video games and gaming platforms with Iconic characters such as Mario, Pokemon, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The characters they created in video games are the equivalent of Mickey Mouse for Walt Disney but what is the history behind these two amazing success stories?
Both Nintendo and Sega are commonly associated to the video game business in Japan, but both companies do not share the same history and definitely not the same origins.
It is said that the oldest gets to go first so it will be Nintendo that comes first. Before Sega, Nintendo was involved in the gaming industry way before video games. Nintendo was created back in 1889 in Kyoto’s suburban area by Fusajiro Yamauchi. The company was then producing popular Japanese card games called Hanafuda.
Nintendo In The 70s
It was only in the 1970s that Nintendo started to diversify its production and started to manufacture toys and arcade cabinets. Nintendo was one of the main companies at the time to get involved in the early video game industry.
The ’70s were the golden age of video games as they were becoming increasingly popular among the population and became a form of entertainment of its own. In the early ’70s, Nintendo went full speed ahead in the video game industry and released the first console for home users, the revolution had started, video games were now available at home.
By the mid-’70s, Nintendo started to produce and publish their own arcade cabinet with the game called EVR Race.Check out this video explaining the game and how it worked!
Nintendo In The 80’s
Nintendo did not encounter the major success we know today until 1981 with the release of the acclaimed Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong became so popular that it became one of the most popular games of the early 1980s.
Because of its popularity, Nintendo was able to license the game to major platforms such as Atari, Intellivision, and Colecovision. Licensing Donkey Kong gave Nintendo an amazing financial boost and the company started research and development on the first handheld gaming devices.
After a few years of experimenting and the release of a couple of handheld gaming devices named Game and Watch, success was to meet Nintendo in 1983 with the launch of the Family Computer Home Video Console including the company’s best-selling video titles.
In 1985 the console was relooked and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was born. At that time Nintendo was ready to export thousands of these consoles to the United States and Europe.
The early NES came with Super Mario Bro integrated into the system and the game became one of the best-selling video games in the world! Subsequently, Mario also became the company mascot.
The success of the NES led to even more profit and Nintendo used this opportunity to invest more in research and development leading in 1989 to the release and distribution of the Game boy!
That was it, nothing could ever stop Nintendo from being the number one in video games and home entertainment systems. From then Nintendo kept developing more powerful hardware for home users and became a leading publisher in video games for all of its existing available platforms.
The History Of Sega
Sega is a much younger company, and despite being located in Japan today the origins of the company are not from Japan. Actually to many people’s surprise, they are from the United States of America.
Sega Ltd. from Japan as you know it was founded on June 3rd, 1960 by two Americans Martín Bromley and Richard Stewart. It is an American company located in Japan.
To understand the story of Sega you need to go back to 1940 when Martin Bromley and two other associates created a company named Standard Games. The company aimed to provide US military personnel with coin-operated amusement machines, mainly slot machines.
Because of World War 2, there was an increasing need to entertain the troops. After World War 2, Bromley and his partners sold Standard Games and opened a new company named Services Games.
Unfortunately for Bromley and his partner, in 1951 the US government outlawed slot machines in the United States. Richard Bromley and his employee Richard decided to move to Japan and established Service Games of Japan to provide coin-operated slot machines to the US bases in Japan where it was not illegal.
The name SEGA, an abbreviation of Service Games was first used in 1954 on a slot machine: The Diamond Star. After a few dodgy years with the slot machine business, the company left the US military market and started focusing on the jukeboxes, pinball tables, and gun games.
Because SEGA was importing second-hand machines from the United States they started developing their own replacement pieces and slowly switched from importer to manufacturer.
In the late 1960s, Sega developed its first electromechanical game: Periscope, a submarine simulator. The company was then sold to Gulf and Western Industries and was renamed Sega Enterprise Ltd.
Surfing on the boom of arcade video game development, Sega created its first arcade game in 1973: Pong-Tron. Quickly expanding, Sega became a leader in arcade video games in the ’80s and was among the top five game manufacturers in the United States.
Like Nintendo, Sega started to produce a home entertainment system but Nintendo was always a step ahead so the company was more focused on game development for arcades and became one of the leaders in game publishing.
In the late ’80s, Sega hit the jackpot with Sonic the Hedgehog! With the sales from Sonic the Hedgehog Sega continued to move forward with new gaming systems. Sadly Shortly thereafter Sony released its own gaming system called the Playstation, and basically took over the gaming market. This took almost all of the sales from Sega, and put them back at the bottom of the market once more.
Although Nintendo was founded before Sega, both of them have had their times of owning the gaming market. They both released popular gaming systems the same year, and both systems were extremely popular.
Today they are both very popular names in the gaming community with the release of their retro mini consoles. Sega released its Genesis Mini, while Nintendo released its NES Mini.
No matter if you loved Nintendo or Sega more, everyone can agree that they both have amazing gaming systems that everyone loves to play!