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Mega Drive, European Launch

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Pirate Dragon

    Pirate Dragon

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    24th June was a Monday, which seems an unlikely day to release hardware on. That was most likely meant as "the week of" as mentioned in the Mega CD post several posts above. This article was also from quite some time after launch, so maybe they didn't have the exact release date beyond the week.

    This Sega advert from the Daily Mirror seems to put the date at Saturday 29th June, which is a more likely day to release hardware on. It's the only day this ad was run on. In fact, it was the only ad in the paper that Sega ran that year.

    [​IMG]

    I think that this makes it the first console to have a promoted UK release date.
     
  2. Lurker

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    https://martinlindell.com/historien-om-sega/
    https://martinlindellblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/segaboken-inlaga-2017-05-31_mega-drive.pdf
    Sorry if this is known from before. It's an interesting read if you know Swedish because it goes into a lot of aspects about the launch and lifetime of the Mega Drive in Sweden.

    So while browsing the internet I came upon this interesting read in Swedish. The book is pretty long but it does give some interesting dates(or confirms other sources).
    1. In may 1990 Sega says it will be released in october 1990
    2. It is first shown in Europe on 19 june at Hotel de Sully in Paris
    3. Distributed by Brio in Sweden and launched to select retailers on 27 sep 1990(major launch was 22-26 oct) and sold out all of the initial 7000-8000 units(demands weren't met until feb 1991). Also states that it was one of the first in Europe.
    3b. 60 000 sales in Great Britain after expanding from an initial order of 20 000.
    4. Launched with nine games costing 349-449 sek in Sweden.
    5. Sonic 1 came out 22 aug 1991 a week before SMB3.
    6. Mega Drive 2 released 10 sep 1993 in Sweden with 2 controllers and 1 game(Sonic 2 or Hockey) for 1995 SEK.
    7. Mega Drive ended up with 150 000 sales in Sweden with Ice Hockey and Sonic being among the most popular titles.

    There is also a part 1 for download covering the Master System and a part 3 covering Saturn and Dreamcast.

    Edit: Grammar
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  3. Pirate Dragon

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    ^Those really need translating, some great insight from people who were with Dennis Bergström and Brio into how Sega dealt with their European distributors prior to Sega Europe.

    According to this Danish article on the German SMS launch SMS launched in Germany October 7, 1986 "on ZDF". ZDF is a German TV station (presumably available in much of Denmark), so I'm not sure exactly what they mean by that. It's probably the closest we'll ever get to a European release date as Germany was the first European country it released in. The article also mentioned that it could be bought from Germany via mail order.

    There was an advertising campaign in Stern and "McDonalds Kino News" (seems to be a free movie newspaper/magazine), with commercials on RTL Plus and in cinemas with cities of populations 100,000+.
     
  4. Asagoth

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  5. Pirate Dragon

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    Finally managed to navigate Google Group's broken search;

    This is the first usenet post to state it had released, previous days people were still asking when it was going to release. So US release date seems to have been 92.11.11, but no games available at launch?

    A rumour posted the day before;

     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  6. Pirate Dragon

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    Looks like the launch games (along with the pack-in games) were Black Hole Assault, Cobra Command, and Night Trap, although they weren't necessarily in stock until a day or two after the hardware arrived.

    Sega CD Out: Update 2

    Sega CD > is here!!

     
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  7. Pirate Dragon

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  8. Pirate Dragon

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    We're pretty close at least (Wikipedia says January 1995!), but it seem that the actual date was 30th November 1994.

    I just bought some UK trade papers, one of which has the official UK ELSPA Gallup charts for the week ending 94.12.03 ... whilst they only publish the combined platform Top 40, the chart comment section mentions that 32X games debuted in the individual format top 100 chart at 53 (Doom), 69 (Virtua Racing), and 75 (Star Wars Arcade).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Searching newspaper archives I find an article in the Sunday Mirror (94.11.27) that says that the 32X would be releasing on Wednesday (94.11.30). Whilst I couldn't find an ad for that day, there was one the following day (94.12.01) from Comet saying "now available". National retailers never advertised a product that wasn't available, so I think it looks pretty safe to say that the real European (or UK) release date was 94.11.30.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
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  9. Pirate Dragon

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    The crazy thing about this is that 32X seemed to have been planned to run games like Virtua Racing, which despite the MD version costing £69.99 and releasing in week 21 1994 (should be 94.05.27) still managed to outsell the 32X version during it's release week over six months later! Why didn't they just make MD Virtua Racing a Lock-On title and call it a day? With the Saturn coming it just seems a totally bizarre decision, and not just with hindsight ... everyone outside of Sega was saying this at the time too.
     
  10. Pirate Dragon

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    UK pre-release SMS catalogue gave a month of August for first releases, the post-release catalogue gives October as month of the next batch of game releases. It left the possibility that the release could have slipped to September, but I've now found a shop newspaper ad from August 20, 1987 confirming August release.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Pirate Dragon

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    First newspaper article I could find mentioning release is from Minneapolis, where it was "previewed" at Toy Works (Kay-Bee Toys related) on 92.11.11. Interestingly it seems to have had one week exclusiveness at this retailer in Minneapolis before being available at other retailers. Maybe that's just due to how they shipped, prioritising LA & NY, with only select retailers in other cities getting it on launch day. The following day the same store has the first US newspaper ad I could find. So 92.11.11 is looking pretty solid.
     
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  12. Pirate Dragon

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    We have unsourced 93.04.19 for Australian Mega CD release. Looking back through edits this has been there since the page was created in 2006. Looking through Wikipedia edits this was copy pasted from there, with the original unsourced date being added in 2005. This date seems to have survived for 17 years with no source. The Australian date was subsequently dropped from Wikipedia, before another unsourced date of March 1993 was added in 2021.

    Unfortunately we don't have dates for Megazone, which is the only Australian magazine that I'm aware of that covered the Mega CD release. Issue 27 which covered April/May 1993 (it was still bi-monthly) has a feature on the release, and the letters page says it is already out. If this was a UK or Japanese monthly magazine I would expect it to have been published the month before the cover month, but as it's Australian, and bi-monthly it's difficult to say. Megazone was also basically a marketing publication for Ozisoft, so it can't be ruled out that the article was written in advance of release in anticipation that it would have already been released on publication.

    Searching Australian newspapers I find the earliest advert as coming from a local store in Canberra on 93.04.03, a day after UK official release date. It doesn't seem that Ozisoft marketed it themselves, or publicised an official release date. The Canberra advert is clearly the PAL version due to the price and 7 bundled games. It's way too close to the UK date to have been imported from there. If we allow for lead time for newspaper adverts (the long awaited Mega CD is now available), and the fact that this is just a small single store who happened to advertise, then the March 1993 date looks plausible. Especially when you consider that shipping times to Australia from Japan were quicker than to the UK, and there was a bit of a controversy in the UK due to some retailers breaking the street date and selling it early (in March).
     
  13. Black Squirrel

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    We've got a 23rd April release date for the Japanese Mega-CD 2. If the Australian Mega-CD (1) was really launched four days earlier... I mean... you'd think they'd just wait for the revised model. But I suppose they would have known the plans in March too - I can only assume it was a tactic for clearing excess stock.
     
  14. Pirate Dragon

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    Fun fact; out of ~80k PAL Mega CD1s around half were manufactured in 1992 (going by serial numbers). The excuse at the time was that they were waiting for PAL software. I didn't believe them at the time, but I do now. Also, my prototype Mega CD 2 is dated 92.09.25 on the sticker. These things took time to filter through, but yeah, PAL Mega CD launch was a bit of a mess.
     
  15. Pirate Dragon

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    For what it's worth found an Aussie posting on 93.04.02 (could be day later with time difference ... but would be early hours) that they've got access to a Mega CD ... doesn't specify that it's a PAL version, but it's right around when it was first advertised, and 16 months after JP release, so seems likely to refer to AU release.
     
  16. Pirate Dragon

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    Going back to the original premise of this thread, whilst I still haven't found an exact date for the UK MD release, everything points to it hitting shelves in the first week of October. In addition to the "TV Games is an official Sega stockist UK versions only" ad with "The UK Megadrive Has Landed!" which first appeared on October 4th, the first Mega Drive games entered the Virgin Games Centre chart for what should be the week ending October 6th (having cross-referenced new releases with the ELSPA Gallup charts). Whilst I'm generally sceptical of retailer charts (one retailer even admitted to fabricating them with the excuse that they were what they expected the customers to buy ...), the Virgin Games Centre ones do seem genuine, even noting when games charted based on pre-orders, and one week having joint 8th placed positions, which it would seem unlikely to fabricate. Virgin was the only national specialist games retailer at the time, were a sister company to Sega's distributor Virgin Mastertronic and heavily pushed Sega products as a result, so they should have been amongst the first retailers to get the Mega Drive.

    The Daily Mirror's David Hancock's "Computer Corner" column mentions having "taken it for a test drive" in the October 5th edition. A couple of independent computer retailers also first advertise the Mega Drive in regional newspapers on October 4th, but they're a bit iffy as they don't specify that they're UK machines, although it's a long time after import machines were available so it would be a bit of a coincidence if they decided to start selling imports right at the official release time.

    With regards to the launch titles where there was contradictory numbers (14 Vs 17 + bundled Altered Beast). It seems that 17 titles were announced, but only 14 made the launch, with Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf missing the cut along with Super League Baseball and World Cup Italia '90. Ace magazine later says that World Cup Italia '90 would release on December 6th, with the release diary section giving a contradictory date of December 8th-14th, with a comment of "better late than never".

    This is based off of Leisuresoft's December 1990 Retail Price List. Leisuresoft were the leading games supplier to independent stores and would publish a price list every month or two depending on the time of year. The handy thing with this is that they note which games are new (presumably since the last issue) and which games are due shortly. As they were meant for retailers they're a lot more accurate than the consumer adverts from retailers which would often list unreleased games as being available.Games which were new entries in the ELSPA Gallup charts for the week ending November 17th are listed as new, whilst new entries for the week ending November 24th are listed as due shortly, so this price list was accurate as of mid-November. The three delayed games mentioned above are listed as due shortly along with Budokan which was erroneously listed in the Master System section. The one new game listed is Populous, which is also the only post-release Mega Drive game to chart in the Virgin Games Centre chart for what should be the week ending November 9th. Unfortunately they stopped publishing those charts in that paper not long after, and I only have the December 1990 and December 1992 issues of Leisuresoft's Retail Price List.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2023
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