The Mega Drive is a fourth-generation video game console released
by Sega in Japan in 1988 and Europe, Australia and other PAL
regions in 1990. The console was released in North America in
1989 under the name Sega Genesis, as Sega was unable to secure
legal rights to the Mega Drive name in that region. The Mega Drive,
heavily marketed as "16-bit" due to its hardware, was Sega's fifth
home console and the successor to the Sega Master System, with which
it is electronically compatible.
The Mega Drive was the first of its generation to achieve notable market
share in Europe and North America. It was a direct competitor of the
TurboGrafx-16 (which was released one year earlier in Japan under the name
PC Engine, but at about the same time as the Genesis in North America)
and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (which was released two years
later). The Mega Drive began production in Japan in 1988 and ended with the
last new licensed game being released in 2002 in Brazil.
The Mega Drive is Sega's most successful console, though there is disparity
in the number of units sold worldwide. The console and its games continue
to be popular among fans, collectors, retro gamers emulation enthusiasts and
the fan translation scene. There are also several indie game developers
continuing to produce games for the console. Many games have been re-released
in compilations for newer consoles and/or offered for download on various
online services, such as Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Virtual Console and Steam.
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