Nintendo’s made old-school game consoles trendy again with the launch of the popular NES and SNES Classic mini consoles. Now it looks like Sega wants to follow suit.

The company, which hasn’t released a major game console in decades, has unveiled a Mega Drive Mini which Sega plans to launch in Japan later this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the classic game console.

The original Mega Drive was sold in North America as the Sega Genesis, although it’s unclear if or when the new mini version will be available outside of Japan.

The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive was a 16-bit game console and it was probably the company’s most popular game console, competing with Nintendo’s NES and SNES systems in the late 80s and early 90s.

These days Sega is primarily a game developer rather than a hardware company. The last console the company released was the Sega Dreamcast, a system that was popular with enthusiasts, but which was a financial flop for the company.

While it’s tempting to think that the upcoming Sega Mega Drive Mini marks a return to hardware, it seems more likely that this is really more of an attempt to emulate Nintendo’s success in going after retro gamers by releasing a small, cute version of a classic device that comes pre-loaded with some classic games. Basically it’s a way to make a bit of new money off of old intellectual property.

That said, I’m sure plenty of people would be happy to buy a little device that lets them play some classic games including Sonic The Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat, and Ecco the Dolphin for the right price.

via @SEGA_OFFICIAL (1) (2), Engadget, and CNET

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12 replies on “Sega plans to cash in on the mini retro console craze with Mega Drive (Genesis) mini”

  1. I think that is interesting and will be check it out once it comes to the USA.

  2. Once again, Sega joins the hardware market with a less popular and inferior product.

    Its only a matter of time before Nintendo releases the N64 Classic. Sega should have released a “Dreamcast Classic”, and beat Nintendo to the shelves.

  3. ” Now it looks like Sega wants to follow suit.”
    Oh, come ON. Sega got in on this thing while Nintendo was still trying to convince people to buy a GameCube. Now that Nintendo’s done it, everyone acts like it is a new idea because it beats admitting they were LATE TO THE PARTY.

    1. From the sounds of it, Sega is just announcing that Japan will be getting AtGames’ Sega Genesis mini console but labeled as a Mega Drive instead. This seems to be more of an announcement for the Japanese market rather than for the world in general.

      Although, AtGames claims it’ll have “new and improved technology” in a tweet. The tweet and corresponding Facebook post have since been deleted after a huge negative response. AtGames’ previous retro Sega consoles were apparently horrible products.

      1. The Flashback HD was greatly improved over AtGames’ previous products. The older products featured a clone hardware implementation that had significant sound glitches. The HD is an ARM running an emulator.
        I don’t own one, but everything I’ve heard is that it is MUCH closer to an original console(ironic, given how much the target market rants about emulators being terrible).

  4. Too bad all previous Megadrive retro collections (both hardware and software) have been pretty terrible. Most of them also seem to feature pretty much the same list of games, which is not all that great. But maybe Sonic Mania showed someone at Sega that actually caring can pay off?

  5. Is this one actually made by Sega? The 2 Sega Genesis Flashback mini consoles from AtGames with I assume Sega’s approval seemed to provide pretty bad experiences combined with a poor choice of games (unless you had your own cartridges).

    Anyway, I didn’t have any Sega consoles as a kid so there’s no nostalgia factor for me. The only things I recall was thinking how the Sonic games were boring and they had some nice JRPGs on them. While I’m still a fan of some JRPGs, not all old titles age well even as remakes.

    1. It looks like this is going to be the same hardware as the ATGames HDMI system from last fall. The hardware itself should be up to the task. However, it seems they’re changing the emulator to something good, if the reports are true. That’s supposed to apply to the US version later this year too. I haven’t heard anything about the game selection.

    2. “The only things I recall was thinking how the Sonic games were boring”

      Spoken like a true Nintendo and Mario fanboy. Sonic 2, Sonic CD (also one of the best-selling Android and iOS games to date, by the way) and Sonic 3 and Knuckles are still considered some of the best high-speed platformers. Why else would Sonic Mania be selling like hotcakes?

      1. For what it’s worth, I also thought the Mario platformers were boring too…

    3. Two? There’s like seventeen mini-Genesis units, going back well before the NES Classic.
      Almost all of them used a hardware implementation with a defective FM synthesizer. Last year’s Flashback HD was a notable exception, and it looks like Japan is getting the same ARM+emulator treatment as the Flashback HD.

      I’d wager the japanese release is running an updated version of the emulator. Prior experience with AtGames tells me we’ll see a Flashback HD 2 running an improved emulator in the US come November. (The Atari Flashback 3 and up are ARM+emulator, with successive revisions featuring better emulation, and they tend to release a new Genesis and Atari unit every year right as the christmas shopping season starts).

  6. I never really had a Sega Mega Drive during my childhood and back then, I always wanted one. Now, I have the (financial) resources but not the desire. It never became a nostalgia for me since I only played for a few times in my friends’ or relatives’ consoles.

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