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Thread: What was the Total Sega Genesis Hardware Sales Number?

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    Peach (Level 3) A Black Falcon's Avatar
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    Default What was the Total Sega Genesis Hardware Sales Number?

    The most commonly heard number is "29 million". However, I think that that number has to be wrong -- it's almost certainly too low!

    http://retro.ign.com/articles/965/965032p1.html

    Nintendo moved 49.1 million Super NES consoles over the course of the generation and beyond, far surpassing the Genesis, which sold a still impressive 29 million units. Why is being 20 million behind Nintendo impressive? Because this was the last generation before videogames went mainstream thanks to the marketing prowess of Sony. It's also impressive because in the previous generation, SEGA was decimated by Nintendo. The Master System sold an anemic 13 million to the NES count of 62 million.
    Nintendo released official sales numbers for all its systems. You can look at the chart here.

    Sega, however, did nothing of the sort.

    To make things worse, there are MANY Sega Genesis models...

    Sega Genesis 1/MegaDrive 1
    Sega Genesis 2/MegaDrive 2
    Sega Genesis 3 (Majesco Genesis)
    Sega MegaJet
    Sega Nomad
    Sega CDX/Multi-Mega
    JVC X'eye
    Pioneer LaserActive with Sega PAC add-on

    And this isn't counting more recent, licensed stand-alone units that only play a single game, or several games, or things like that, just the older ones that take cartridges. I'm also not counting the various emulation-based but officially licensede clone systems now on the market. Those systems would probably not be counted in a "system sold" list... but as they are licensed, should they could for something? I'd count them separately for sure if I did, but it's an interesting question. But anyway...

    The point is, does that "14 million" or "29 million" number include all of these models? Just the official Sega models, not things like the LaserActive or X'eye? Just the Genesis 1 or Genesis 1 and 2? Which years? I have no idea.


    So, we have to work on guesswork. So what's the source for this "29 million" number? Wikipedia says it too, so their source is the likely one.

    Wikipedia links this site as its source for the "29 million" number.

    http://www.islandnet.com/~KPOLSSON/segavid/

    Here's the relevant quote they're basing the number on:
    1989

    (month unknown)

    * Sega Enterprises introduces the Genesis home video game system in the US. It features 7.68 MHz 16-bit Motorola 68EC000 processor, 4 MHz Z80 sound coprocessor, 64 kB RAM, 512 colors in 320x224 resolution. 80 animated sprites are possible, with up to 16 colors per sprite. Included is the video game Altered Beast. Price is US$189. (Total North American sales in its lifetime: 14 million. Total world sales: 29 million.) [70] [124.352] [157.44] [176.C1] [317.68] [483.64] [1255.75]
    Hmm, sounds clear enough. But wait... keep reading the page. What do you find, in the "1997-2000" page...

    1999

    (month unknown)

    * Unit sales of video game systems in North America to date: Sega Master System 1.5 million, Sega Genesis 19 million, Saturn 1 million, [378.59]
    NINTEEN million, not 17 million? Wait a minute, but that "29 million" number everyone quotes was based on a US sales base of 14 million, not 19 million. If the actual total US sales was at least 19 million, that worldwide total must be wrong, right? And if that's wrong... well, then the N64 (32 million sold) probably isn't actually the best-selling non-handheld second-place console, is it (note -- the Sony PSP is now the most successful second-place console ever, hence the "non-handheld" qualification). But if that "29 million" is based on incomplete US totals, what about the rest of the world... is there anything out there to even guess at this? That source site does list its sources, so at least it would be possible to look up those numbers... I have no idea which are accurate and which aren't. It would make things so much easier if Sega had ever just released a comprehensive units-sold total chart, like Nintendo has...

    I don't know about internationally, but honestly, 23.35 million SNESes sold in the US. The idea that despite how close that generation was for so long (in fact, that the Genesis led until sometime in 1994) the SNES somehow managed to win by nearly a full TEN MILLION UNITS just defies belief, in my opinion. That 19 million number makes a LOT more sense to me, really...
    Last edited by A Black Falcon; 03-28-2009 at 12:48 AM.

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    Kirby (Level 13) j_factor's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that Nintendo's figure of 23.35 million for SNES is for "the Americas", including Central and South America, whereas the figure we seem to be looking for with the Genesis is only for the United States and Canada. Or possibly just the United States. How many SNES systems were sold in Latin America? Unless we can separate that figure, or come up with a combined figure for the Genesis, it's not comparable. Genesis sales figures for Latin America are complicated by the fact that the system was by another company in Brazil, and was handled by the European division in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

    Either way, that 14 million figure is definitely bunk. The 19 million number comes from an old Newsweek article about the launch of the Dreamcast. I believe that number excludes the Genesis 3 as that wasn't by Sega (same would go for the other, lesser non-Sega versions like the X'Eye). Although, 1 million units for the Saturn sounds wrong. Usually it's approximated at 2 million -- 9.5 worldwide, 6 million in Japan, 2 million in North America, 1.5 million in Europe/elsewhere. But I digress.

    A worldwide comparison figure would be extremely difficult. Every single SNES/SFC system (except for the clones) was sold by Nintendo. Whereas Sega had a strategy of licensing their hardware to other manufacturers/distributors -- to Majesco, JVC, Aiwa, Amstrad, Samsung, TecToy, Ozisoft, Pioneer, IBM, and I may be forgetting one.

    The only way to get an accurate sales total for the Genesis/Mega Drive would be if you were somehow able to point each specific version and say this model in this country sold X number, and add them all. Except some markets like Russia may be impossible to find out (Nintendo simply counts the number of systems they manufactured and shipped out, not necessarily true sales numbers, and that's also why they only divide it into three territories).
    Last edited by j_factor; 03-28-2009 at 03:45 AM.
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    Please highlight what a douche I am.

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    Cherry (Level 1) Zebbe's Avatar
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    I've seen sourcing saying this:

    Genesis: 19 millions
    European Mega Drive: 9 millions
    Japanese Mega Drive: 3.5 millions
    Majesco's sales: 2 millions
    Nomad: 1 million
    Brazil: 2 million

    That's 36.5 millions. But what's missing?

    Australia (Ozisoft handled it)
    South Korea (Samsung handled it)
    India
    Other Asia
    Other South America
    At Games new Mega Drive/Genesis distributed by several companies in some regions

    The actual sales number is probably well over 40 millions, but more sources are needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    I've seen sourcing saying this:

    Genesis: 19 millions
    European Mega Drive: 9 millions
    Japanese Mega Drive: 3.5 millions
    Majesco's sales: 2 millions
    Nomad: 1 million
    Brazil: 2 million

    That's 36.5 millions. But what's missing?

    Australia (Ozisoft handled it)
    South Korea (Samsung handled it)
    India
    Other Asia
    Other South America
    At Games new Mega Drive/Genesis distributed by several companies in some regions

    The actual sales number is probably well over 40 millions, but more sources are needed.
    Wow that's alot of Mega Drive/Genesis game consoles..I really won't count those Asian versions cause some of them are just clones..
    .................................................. ......................

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    Cherry (Level 1) Zebbe's Avatar
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    Sega released official licensed versions in Asia. Those I mentioned above belong to those, whether Sega or their licensee released it or not. Illegal clones are not included.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) boogiecat's Avatar
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    I've got a Indonesian PAL unit of Mega Drive 2 so that's legal.
    .................................................. ......................

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    1 million units for the Saturn sounds wrong.
    I was reading the 1st issue of PSM today and they had sell numbers, the mag. says that "as of 6/1/97 the Saturn has sold 1.6 million in North America" so you know that is wrong.

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    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post

    http://retro.ign.com/articles/965/965032p1.html



    Nintendo released official sales numbers for all its systems. You can look at the chart here..
    Don't be taken in by Nintendo's so-called 'official' sales figures, they are VASTLY overexaggerated (source Game Over the book)
    Last edited by tom; 03-28-2009 at 02:06 PM.

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    Man, are all sales figures bullplop?
    "If each mistake being made is a new one, then progress is being made."

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    ServBot (Level 11) tom's Avatar
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    Think about it, if you're a company, you would boast about of how well you're doing, and then up it some more. It's only human.

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    Crono (Level 14) Sonicwolf's Avatar
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    The actual sales figure would be impossible to find. You have to take into account

    Genesis 1,2,3 - Megadrive 1,2 - Nomad - Genesis and Megadrive laseractive adaptors - Wondermega - Multimega - JVC Xeye - Sega CDX - Other licenced crap

    Too much product with too little info.

    That and the whole 'inflate sales figures to look better' thing
    DERP

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    Peach (Level 3) A Black Falcon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor
    Keep in mind that Nintendo's figure of 23.35 million for SNES is for "the Americas", including Central and South America, whereas the figure we seem to be looking for with the Genesis is only for the United States and Canada. Or possibly just the United States. How many SNES systems were sold in Latin America? Unless we can separate that figure, or come up with a combined figure for the Genesis, it's not comparable. Genesis sales figures for Latin America are complicated by the fact that the system was by another company in Brazil, and was handled by the European division in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

    Either way, that 14 million figure is definitely bunk. The 19 million number comes from an old Newsweek article about the launch of the Dreamcast. I believe that number excludes the Genesis 3 as that wasn't by Sega (same would go for the other, lesser non-Sega versions like the X'Eye). Although, 1 million units for the Saturn sounds wrong. Usually it's approximated at 2 million -- 9.5 worldwide, 6 million in Japan, 2 million in North America, 1.5 million in Europe/elsewhere. But I digress.
    Right, what nations are included in each count? Do we know? How closely can the numbers we have be compared? But I'll have more on these points later in the post...

    Quote Originally Posted by boogiecat View Post
    Wow that's alot of Mega Drive/Genesis game consoles..I really won't count those Asian versions cause some of them are just clones..
    Yeah, agreed on the point of clones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    Sega released official licensed versions in Asia. Those I mentioned above belong to those, whether Sega or their licensee released it or not. Illegal clones are not included.
    I wouldn't include licensed clones that aren't official hardware, myself... such as the At Games one.That's not real Genesis hardware.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    I've seen sourcing saying this:

    Genesis: 19 millions
    European Mega Drive: 9 millions
    Japanese Mega Drive: 3.5 millions
    Majesco's sales: 2 millions
    Nomad: 1 million
    Brazil: 2 million

    That's 36.5 millions. But what's missing?

    Australia (Ozisoft handled it)
    South Korea (Samsung handled it)
    India
    Other Asia
    Other South America
    At Games new Mega Drive/Genesis distributed by several companies in some regions

    The actual sales number is probably well over 40 millions, but more sources are needed.
    As I said I wouldn't count that last one, but the rest... yeah. I don't know what kind of sales numbers you'd be looking at in most of those countries, though... probably not too much. I'd doubt it's much over 40 million total.

    Majesco's sales: 2 millions
    I thought there was an interview with Majesco saying it was less than that... or am I wrong, or was the system released in other regions too and not just the US? I know the Genesis 3 sold well in 1998, but 2 million sounds like a lot... could be right though I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by RPG_Fanatic
    I was reading the 1st issue of PSM today and they had sell numbers, the mag. says that "as of 6/1/97 the Saturn has sold 1.6 million in North America" so you know that is wrong.
    I'd guess that it's just incomplete, not wrong. I mean, that "14 million" number is likely just an incomplete sales total -- "all up until date X" or something along those lines. Those "1 million" Saturn numbers are likely similar. I thought that they were also wrong; I'd also heard "1.5 or 2 million" as the US Saturn sales number, before.

    The actual sales figure would be impossible to find. You have to take into account

    Genesis 1,2,3 - Megadrive 1,2 - Nomad - Genesis and Megadrive laseractive adaptors - Wondermega - Multimega - JVC Xeye - Sega CDX - Other licenced crap

    Too much product with too little info.

    That and the whole 'inflate sales figures to look better' thing
    That last part is impossible to account for; all you can really do is hope that everybody is inflating their numbers equally, so you can fairly compare the numbers you have for each system. If that's wrong... well, there's not much you can do.

    But for the rest, yeah, you're quite right... it's just too many models. Still, it would be nice to have some kind of ballpark figure to look at... how close WAS the Genesis, worldwide, to the SNES? "29 vs. 49" is way off. The Genesis number is of course at least 37-40 million, we now know. Despite Nintendo's exaggeration I'd think that the Nintendo number is at least close to its official total... or at least, they're both shipped numbers and not sold, for all parties, so that's all we know anyway.


    But how about just the Americas. I know it's still hard -- the LaserActive likely sold very small numbers, but the Nomad, Genesis 3, and X'eye complicate things for sure, beyond the base two models and CDX. As I said in the first post, though, beyond just wondering "how many systems did Sega sell anyway?", I'm also wondering which is the best selling second place major console, the Nintendo 64 or Sega Genesis. Nintendo says that the N64 shipped 20.63 million systems in the Americas. The Genesis numbers we have have 19 million as the base there, plus unknown numbers more... is it actually ahead, or is it just short? I'd guess that the total number of Genesis 3's sold, if they aren't included in that '19 million' number, would be important...

    Of course, are Nintendo's "Americas" and Sega's "Americas" the same region, exactly? Or does one include more countries? I have no idea...

    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor
    A worldwide comparison figure would be extremely difficult. Every single SNES/SFC system (except for the clones) was sold by Nintendo. Whereas Sega had a strategy of licensing their hardware to other manufacturers/distributors -- to Majesco, JVC, Aiwa, Amstrad, Samsung, TecToy, Ozisoft, Pioneer, IBM, and I may be forgetting one.

    The only way to get an accurate sales total for the Genesis/Mega Drive would be if you were somehow able to point each specific version and say this model in this country sold X number, and add them all. Except some markets like Russia may be impossible to find out (Nintendo simply counts the number of systems they manufactured and shipped out, not necessarily true sales numbers, and that's also why they only divide it into three territories).
    Right.

    Though I bet even Sega couldn't say exactly how many they shipped, I bet they could at least give us a decent guess if they wanted to try... it's too bad they never did, it'd be very interesting.


    Still, we do know some things -- the Genesis sold 36.5 million, minimum, and probably a few million more than that. The 29-30 million number that you see all over the place is wrong. For instance, here's yet one more page using "30 million"...

    http://www.gametunnel.com/good-enoug...ne-article.php

    That page tries to list all console sales. Some are clearly just mistakes -- they use Wikipedia's TG16 US number instead of their Worldwide number, for instance -- but the Genesis number is 30 million, about the average sites list, and completely wrong. But how to prove it, so sites like Wikipedia could be updated with more accurate numbers... they'd want proof. Is there enough to prove that the number is wrong, and replace it with something more accurate?

    ... Oh, and on that TG16 number... Wikipedia says "2.5 million US, 10 million worldwide". I don't know about the Worlwide number, I'm sure it sold very well in Japan considering that it was the most successful platform there for several years, but that US number is way, way too high; the actual US sales, including the TG16 and Duo (and perhaps also CD? Not sure) is, I remember reading on the PCEngineFX forums, under a million, likely well under a million. It did not sell well at all. I have no idea where that 2.5 million number comes from, the Wikipedia source doesn't provide sources, but it's way, way off, I'm pretty sure... (Okay, that's not a great source for the 'under a million' number, but it fits with what I see online -- if the TG16 and Duo sold 2.5 million systems, there would be more TG16s out there than Saturns, on EBay and such, or at least a comparable number. However, there are MANY more Saturns on EBay than TG16s, by a factor of at least two or three, minimum... this is not all explained by the fact that the Saturn is a bit newer, or that the '2 million' Saturn number is wrong; there are decent sources for that. It's explained by that TG16 number being way, way off. But anyway...
    Last edited by A Black Falcon; 03-28-2009 at 09:34 PM.

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    Crono (Level 14) Sonicwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    But how about just the Americas. I know it's still hard -- the LaserActive likely sold very small numbers, but the Nomad, Genesis 3, and X'eye complicate things for sure, beyond the base two models and CDX.
    I have heard from a member of this forum who is a pretty good authority on the X'Eye that the system only sold a pitiful 10,000 units. The Nomad sold around 1 million units according to GamePro http://www.gamepro.com/article/featu...s-of-all-time/

    The Genesis 3 would then be the hardest to figure out.
    Last edited by Sonicwolf; 03-28-2009 at 11:28 PM.
    DERP

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    Key (Level 9) chrisbid's Avatar
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    the other looked over impressive factor

    sega led nintendo in 91, 92, and 93

    the market was pretty even in 94, but in 95, sega all but abandoned the genesis, while the snes was still pushed for several more years

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbid View Post
    the other looked over impressive factor

    sega led nintendo in 91, 92, and 93

    the market was pretty even in 94, but in 95, sega all but abandoned the genesis, while the snes was still pushed for several more years
    Yeah, if Sega of Japan hadn't decided to kill off the Genesis in 1995, even with as close as it was (23.35 million to 19 million), it'd have been even closer if Sega hadn't done that, that's for sure. Sega really defeated itself that generation, even more so than Nintendo beat it... if Sega hadn't messed up so badly, even the exceptional success of Donkey Kong Country might not have been enough to get Nintendo past Sega, given Sega's lead that generation from 1989-1993.

    Fortunately for Nintendo, though, Sega messed up bad, with the infighting between Japan and America and the bad decision making that led to the 32X, Saturn, killing the Genesis early, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonicwolf View Post
    I have heard from a member of this forum who is a pretty good authority on the X'Eye that the system only sold a pitiful 10,000 units. The Nomad sold around 1 million units according to GamePro http://www.gamepro.com/article/featu...s-of-all-time/

    The Genesis 3 would then be the hardest to figure out.
    Huh, interesting... I would have guessed that the X'eye didn't sell too well, given how rare they are, but 10,000... wow, that's a smaller number than I would have guessed.

    As for the Nomad, I don't really trust that article... they don't list sources, and list several incorrect numbers -- for instance, as I said in my last post, the 'consoles' version of that article is the source for that really weird "the TG16 sold 2.5 million systems in the US" number.

    1 million is a reasonable-sounding number, though, so if it's all we have, I could believe it... but it would be nice to have a better source.

    ... TurboExpress, 1.5 million sold? Is that wrong, or was the PC Engine GT (the Japanese version) actually popular? I can't imagine it sold much of anything in the US. Another questionable number in that article.
    Last edited by A Black Falcon; 03-29-2009 at 01:11 AM.

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    Crono (Level 14) Sonicwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    I don't really trust that article...
    They didnt even spell the principle game of the CDI right in the worst consoles article. "Zelda Wand of Gannon" .
    DERP

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    Cherry (Level 1) Zebbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Black Falcon View Post
    I wouldn't include licensed clones that aren't official hardware, myself... such as the At Games one.That's not real Genesis hardware.
    Then you wouldn't count the actual Genesis by Sega either, since later model 1s and model 2s also contain clone chips. Mostly its the small components, but also the VDP/PSG soundchip as well, I think.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Rob2600's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbid View Post
    in 95, sega all but abandoned the genesis, while the snes was still pushed for several more years
    True, the SFC/SNES was supported for a couple of years after the Mega Drive/Genesis, but - duh - the Mega Drive/Genesis was supported for a couple of years before the SFC/SNES. Thus, their lifespans were basically equal:

    Genesis: 1988-1998 = 10 years of official game releases
    ("The last commercially licensed release in North America was Frogger, released in 1998.")

    SNES: 1990-2000 = 10 years of official game releases
    ("In Japan...new games were produced until the year 2000, ending with the release of Metal Slader Glory Director's Cut on December 1, 2000.")


    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbid View Post
    sega led nintendo in 91
    In North America, of course Sega "led" Nintendo in 1991. The Genesis was on the market during all twelve months in 1991, while the SNES was only on the market during five of those months. Common sense.
    Last edited by Rob2600; 03-29-2009 at 02:51 PM.

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    Cherry (Level 1) Zebbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2600 View Post
    True, the SFC/SNES was supported for a couple of years after the Mega Drive/Genesis, but - duh - the Mega Drive/Genesis was supported for a couple of years before the SFC/SNES. Thus, their lifespans were basically equal:

    Genesis: 1988-1998 = 10 years of official game releases
    ("The last commercially licensed release in North America was Frogger, released in 1998.")
    Wrong. The Mega Drive was officially supported uptil 2000 in Brazil, with the last licensed game Show do Milhao Volume 2 being released then by the Sega licensee TecToy.

    http://www.guardiana.net/MDG-Databas...ume%202/#v2734

    So the Mega Drive/Genesis had a two year longer lifespan than the SNES/SFC.

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    ServBot (Level 11) Rob2600's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    Wrong. The Mega Drive was officially supported uptil 2000 in Brazil, with the last licensed game Show do Milhao Volume 2 being released then by the Sega licensee TecToy.

    http://www.guardiana.net/MDG-Databas...ume%202/#v2734

    So the Mega Drive/Genesis had a two year longer lifespan than the SNES/SFC.
    Yet, it still couldn't beat the SNES.

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