Sega is going all-in with retro gaming, not only confirming the Genesis/Mega Drive Mini, but also talking of bringing Dreamcast and Saturn games to the Nintendo Switch.
The Mega Drive Mini (which is a working name) isn’t a great surprise but has now been officially announced and a prototype was shown off at Sega Fest in Japan. Sega didn’t give many details other than to say it will get an initial Japan release and then go worldwide later this year, marking the original console’s 30th anniversary from the 1988 Japan launch.
From the few available images, it certainly looks to be along the lines of the NES Classic range with multiple games built-in rather than having any physical media. The hardware is coming from AtGames, a company that’s previously worked on retro devices based on both Sega and Atari games.
Meanwhile Sega also announced at the event that the existing “Sega Ages” range of arcade games ported for the Nintendo Switch could be extended to cover Saturn and Dreamcast games. Exactly how strong the commitment of the announcement was is a little hazy thanks to translation issues: it appears the move could be dependent on the “continued support” of gamers.
Technical challenges aside, this would be a very different prospect to the Mega Drive Mini as we’d be talking about marketing individual games rather than an all-in-one retro package. As Forbes’s Jason Evangelho notes, one question for Sega is whether there’d be a real demand for Saturn games that didn’t get an international release in their original incarnation. It could be they’d only have a cult appeal for long-term hardcore gamers, but this is probably the audience that is most likely to buy these releases anyway.