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Why do Electronic Arts games for Genesis (Mega Drive) have a different cartridge size?

Jungle Strike Cartridge:

Jungle Strike



The Immortal:

The Immortal

"Normal" USA/Europe cartridge:

Sonic 2

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

EA originally reverse-engineered the Genesis and made their own carts.

When EA inquired about publishing its games on the Genesis, the executives felt their proposal would be met with open arms.

Instead of embracing the logic in EA’s proposal, Sega of America president Mike Katz had other ideas. Sega wanted to emulate the Nintendo licensing agreement system, leaving little to no negotiation room for third-party publishers.

The discussion went back and forth for nearly a year, until a Sega executive boldly told Bing Gordon, “If you want a different deal you’re going to have to reverse engineer the system, aren’t you?”

Sega had thrown down the gauntlet, and EA gladly picked it up. Under the guidance of its legal counsel, the company gave two of its most talented engineers the green light to attempt a clean room reverse engineering job on the Genesis.

...EA’s hardware group built several reverse engineered development systems. Unbeknownst to Sega, EA ramped up production on several Genesis games.

Sega was caught in an uncomfortable position. If EA went ahead with its licensing program, the console manufacturer would be losing a significant portion of the profit that traditionally comes with the territory. EA could essentially reach out to other publishers and offer better returns and cheaper manufacturing costs than Sega was willing to do.

In exchange for agreeing to join Sega’s licensing program, EA would be allowed to manufacture its own Genesis cartridges, could make as many games as it wanted, and received a more favorable royalty rate.


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I think you cut a bit too much out of your excerpt; without something about EA's threat to license its reverse engineering work for less than an official Sega license there's no explanation for why Sega caved and granted EA the license they originally wanted. – Dan Neely Feb 11 '13 at 16:46
Feel free to write your own answer. – Cory J Feb 11 '13 at 16:54
@Dan Or edit this one to plaster over the narrative gap. (I noticed it too.) – SevenSidedDie Feb 11 '13 at 18:01
@SevenSidedDie My general preference is to give an author the first shot at fixing something themselves. Also, Cory's "make your own answer" comment has me suspecting he thinks it's unneeded and would just edit it out; while existing answer + one more thing isn't a good fit for SE. – Dan Neely Feb 11 '13 at 18:17
@CoryJ - As a community we strive to obtain high quality, relevant information in the form of detailed questions and answers. Noone is saying your answer isn't fine the way it is (you have 6 upvotes and no downvotes) but what Dan & SevenSidedDie are saying is that the answer could be more complete. This is why we allow community edits, to improve upon existing answers so that future visitors can get the best answers possible. I actually see it as a compliment, someone went out of their way to edit my answer, improving it, bumping it into the limelight, and (hopefully) getting me more upvotes. – Robotnik Feb 12 '13 at 3:54

Complementing Cory J's answer, after some research, I found that the cartridges really have different PCB sizes.

According to this source (2nd answer), EA games PCB were slightly taller and harder to open:

Madden 93 "guts": Madden 93

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