I always imagined the Genesis (Mega Drive) to be intended as a 'next generation' system compared to NES and Master System, because it was marketed as a "16-bit" system. And taking one glance at the games showed a remarkable difference from the 8-bit games on the older systems. Not to mention the music.
However, @The_Liquid_Laser posed this counter argument:
|"When we look at the more mainstream systems we see that the market actively resists a company entering the same generation with a new system. Sega even tried this with the Genesis. "Genesis does what Nintendon't." Nintendo = NES in this case. The market saw the Genesis as the competitor to the SNES though. In North America SMS launched in 1986 and Genesis in 1989. That is a shorter span than the Wii U got. And yet the market saw Genesis as next gen."|
Essentially that the Sega Genesis re-entered the 3rd generation (NES & Master System), rather than starting the 4th generation. But the market defied their intentions.
I say the market didn't go against Sega's intentions. Because their intention was always to present the Genesis as a next gen system, which was destined to eventually compete with the SNES, once that system launched in the same markets.
The SNES was seemingly not out in America at the time of this famous commercial (the games featured in the commercial predate the SNES launch in NA. And some versions of the commercial feature NA Genesis games that predate even the Jp launch of SNES), so they taunted the significantly weaker NES instead:
In the first commercial, you they mention 16-Bit as something that Ninten 'don't'. Because NES is an 8-Bit system.
Once SNES was released, they instead started talking about 'Blast Processing' as seen in the second commercial.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Sega tried to re-enter the second generation with the Genesis/Mega Drive, and the market just defied them and considered it a direct competitor to SNES instead, despite their efforts to remain a 3rd generation console in direct competition with the NES.
As far as competition with the NES goes, imo this only occurred because SNES wasn't released yet in the same markets.
Feel free to discuss this, or any console generations for that matter.
I don't expect this topic to go anywhere though.
I ironically messed up the generations. Fixed.
When did you first hear the term "Generation (insert number)"?
I grew up in Sweden so I can't say how it was elsewhere, but as I recall we referred to the systems as "8-Bit", "16-Bit", "32-Bit", "64-Bit" and "132-Bit".
I believe it may have been as late as "Generation 7" when I first heard that term.