Sega 32X System
The Sega 32X was a cartridge-based add-on for the 16-bit Genesis system. In 1994, Sega was in a transitional period, the company had just passed Nintendo as the top platform manufacturer with the 16-bit Genesis and Sega was looking ahead to the next generation of video gaming when they began to explore 32-bit technology.
Sega was developing two 32-bit consoles at the same time: the Jupiter, a cartridge based system and the Saturn, a CD-ROM based system. Sega chose to continue with the Saturn because it knew that CD-ROMs were cheaper to produce and could hold more information than a regular cartridge. Instead of deserting the Jupiter project, Sega used its technology to develop a 32-bit add-on for the Genesis. After modifications, what Sega came up with was the Mars system.
Sega of America made immediate plans to introduce the Mars in the US. In Japan, Sega was on the verge of releasing the Saturn and did not pursue the Mars project. Sega of America decided to rename the console the Genesis Super 32-X. The company knew that the Saturn would be released in the US in one year and didn’t want to abandon the millions of Genesis owners whose 16-bit cartridges would soon be obsolete.
By June 1994, Sega had shortened the name of the add-on to the 32X. The company re-priced the system to $159.99 and instead of including a pack-in game cartridge, Sega would include six $10 discount coupons that could be used for the purchase of 32X cartridges.
When the 32X was released in November 1994, the demand was so high that Sega couldn’t fulfill all of the one million orders retailers had made for the system. By January 1995, Sega had shipped 600,000 units.