Sega and Brazil (Part 2): Where Sega Lives Forever

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, licensed by Adobe Stock

Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, licensed by Adobe Stock

In part one of this article, we explored just how Tectoy had managed to make Sega into a behemoth in the region with their inexpensive, high-quality Master System. From 1989 on, Sega has been a major player in the region, even as their systems have faded into nostalgia in the rest of the world. This article will explore why this happened, and why the Master System and Mega Drives still live on today.

The Next Generations

Tectoy's success with Sega didn't stop with the Master System. When it came time to release Sega's 16-bit console, the Mega Drive (known as the Genesis in North America), Tectoy would once again manufacture and distribute it.

In December of 1990, the Mega Drive launched in Brazil, and was another staggering success. At the time, there was nothing to even touch it -- when Nintendo finally did decide to enter the market in 1993 with a partnership with Playtronic, Tectoy had an 80% market share and the wide availability of pirated NES clones made the real thing a harder sell.

And Tectoy didn't stop with the Mega Drive -- they released Sega's handheld Game Gear in 1991, where it was a huge success as well. The Saturn and Dreamcast would follow suit, enjoying respectable sales and longer life spans, mirroring their success in Japan while Sega's fortunes worldwide burned.

With Nintendo crushed and Sony paying huge import taxes on all their PlayStation models, Sega and Tectoy remained basically the only game in town until one company moved in for newfound dominance: Microsoft.

Microsoft, being the global tech giant that they are, were easily able to set up manufacturing centres in Manaus. So all iterations of the Xbox have been considerably cheaper than PlayStations, meaning Xbox has won the high-end console battle comfortably with every iteration. In Brazil, Xbox now is king.

Sega Lives!

But this isn't the end of the story for Sega in Brazil. While Sega left the home console market after the (mostly) global failure of its ambitious Dreamcast, Tectoy continued to manufacture both Master Systems and Mega Drives. Through working closely with developers, Tectoy also produced a number of Portuguese localizations for games, and a number of ports for games on the systems long after their lives had ended elsewhere. You can play Guitar Hero on the Mega Drive in Brazil!

Since the mid-2000s, however, Tectoy has focused more on the nostalgia market than on creating new products. New Master Systems and Mega Drives are still being sold, but they closed systems packed with ROMs, similar to the SNES Classic or Genesis Flashback -- the cartridge market has long since left Brazil. The Master System and Mega Drive, together, sell roughly 150,000 units per year, beating Nintendo and Sony.

Sega's descent into mediocrity after the Dreamcast is a real shame, but the fact that they still live on, in some form, in part of the world is oddly encouraging. Brazil: Where Sega Lives Forever.