In the late 1980s, the reputation of SEGA is mainly based on the enthousiasm for its arcade games. Hayao Nakayama, then SEGA’s CEO, takes the decision to develop a 16-bit console on the base of System 16’s arcade. The console receives the code name MK-1601 and is launched with the name of SEGA Drive worldwide, except in North America, where it is launched with the name Sega Genesis, since the other name was already patented.
At the launch of the Genesis in 1989, Nintendo has with its NES nearly 92% of the Japanese market and about 95% of the North American market. Taking off guard Nintendo on the 16-bit market, SEGA successfully introduces the Genesis in the US and Europe, sweeping the Turbografx-16. The SEGA Genesis even managed to be the market leader in North American for 1992 and 1993.
In 1992 a revamped version of the Megadrive (SEGA Genesis), the Megadrive II is launched. Later in 1997, the firm Majesco Sales obtains the rights to re-market the Megadrive II in North America. The following year, the company manufactures a new version, the Genesis 3 and sells it for $50. During those ten years, 39.70 million Megadrive and Genesis units were sold.