The Sega Master System was Sega's first globally recognized home console released in the USA in 1986. It was noted for having two formats of games: cartridges and cards. The system came with a zapper light gun, similar to the NES light gun. Some of the flagship games were Alex Kidd and After Burner, among others. It did failry well in certain global markets, but it was a distant 2nd place to the NES in terms of sales, marketing, and 3rd party support.
The Sega Genesis was Sega's most commercially successful console, released in the USA in 1991. It was in high competition with the Super Nintendo for most of its production run. This is the system that launched the Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, and the Ecco the Dolphin series. It was known for it's "blast processing" which was marketed along with the playing speed of the Sonic games. This gave the impression that the Sega Gensis was faster and more powerful than its competition. The Sega Gensis later had hardware add-ons to increase viabilty that it was the future of gaming available in present day. These aded-ons were the Sega CD, and the Sega 32X.
In 1995 the Sega Saturn released in the USA to a luke warm reception. Sega had dropped support of the Sega CD and the 32X add-ons, leaving consumers feeling somewhat abandoned through sudden lack of product support. In addition, the Sega Saturn was an unorthodox console for developers to program games on. As a result, 3rd party games were few and far between. The console had some great games and still has a cult following.
The Sega Dreamcast released in the USA in 1999, and sold well initially. After the very successful launch of the Playstation 2 in 2000, interest in the Sega Dreamcast began to drop quickly.
The PS2 supported games on DVD format, and doubled as a solid DVD movie player. In contrast, the Dreamcast ran games on GD-ROM (a version of CD-ROM, allowing more storage). Because most of the games could still fit on standard CD-ROM format, it became vulnerable to piracy with the onset of CD-ROM burners becoming commonplace during that time period.
In 2000, Microsoft announced their first entry into the home console market, aiming for a 2001 launch of the Xbox. Nintendo also announced a 2001 launch of its new console, the Nintendo Gamecube.
In March 2001, Sega announced that they would discontinue manufacturing the Dreamcast. They also stated that they would no longer pursue any type of hardware production. There new focus: just games.
Sonic the Hedgehog fan page. Of course.
Streets of Rage 4? Yes... no... maybe so?
Ecco the Dolphin: where did he go?