Released in October of 1995, the Sega Nomad was a portable Sega Genesis. Although soon it discontinued and sold in a discount price.
Sega Game Gear was the first handheld console by Sega. Released in 1990 in Japan and 1991 in N. America and Europe, it was supposed to be the direct competitor to Nintendo Game Boy. While it did see some success, it was really no much to Game Boy. Initially Sega came up with an idea of a 16-bit handheld with a colored screen and a touch screen interface. Unfortunately, it would be way too expensive to manufacture. The retail price was expected to be $289, a lot more than the $50 of the Game Boy. A few years before the launch of Nomad into the market, Sega had developed a screenless portable Mega Drive known as Mega Jet. Created in 1993, it was initially sold to Japan airlines. Customers could plug it into the monitors on their seats and play games. In 1994 Sega released a consumer version. Sega decided to take this concept and add a screen to it, creating the Sega Nomad, a portable Sega Genesis!
It was another attempt by the company to extend the life of the Genesis home console, having already made the Sega CD and the Sega 32X peripherals. In a press release, Tom Kalinske, president and CEO of Sega in America stated:
Millions of die-hard Genesis fans will now have the convenience of their favorite 16-bit games in the palm of their hands anytime or anyplace.
It was only released in N. America and retailed for $180.
Sega Nomad's design is similar to the Game Gear. A strange fact is that the top is actually sliding down. At the front there is a d-pad, a speaker, a screen and a six button controller layout. The screen is colored and has a backlit. There is also a start button and a mode button. If the user hold down the mode button during start up, it will change the controller from a six button to a three button. Some games such as Forgotten Worlds won't work unless the user change the mode. On the top of the Nomad there is the power switch, an AC adapter input, a cartridge input and an AV out. The user can hook up the Nomad to the TV, essentially making it a Genesis with the Nomad acting as the controller. It uses the same power adapter and AV cables as the Genesis model 2. At the bottom there is a volume slider, a headphone jack, a brightness slider for the screen and an extra controller port for two players game play. It can take any controller of the Genesis, even the Arcade Stick. The back of the system features grooves where the player can place his/her fingers and a slot to hook up the battery pack. The Nomad requires six AA batteries to work. Rechargeable batteries can be used also. The Nomad can play all Genesis game titles and even some Mega Drive games as long as they are not region locked. However is not compatible with the power base converter, Sega CD or the Sega 32X.
Nomad had 1 million sales in one year. However, it discontinued soon after it launched. By the time it was released, Sega Saturn was already in the market. So Sega started to shift all of the resources to Sega Saturn. The system was also pretty expensive. The Sega Genesis was only $99, when the portable version, Sega Nomad, essentially doubled the price to $180. The Game Boy's price was only $50. Having also six batteries to power the unit only for maximum 3 hours made Sega Nomad not a good value for money. All of these reasons combined doomed the system. In 1998 Nintendo released Pokemon in N. America. The sales of the Game Boy skyrocketed and crashed any hope Sega or any other competitor had of competing in the handheld market. By 1999, Sega Nomad was sold brand new for $40 dollars.