Nearly every retro gamer alive can tell you that besides Sonic the Hedgehog, the SEGA Genesis is SEGA’s bread and butter. So many collections, so much merchandise, and even 2 different mini-consoles have been released under the Genesis moniker. While it’s great to see SEGA remember the Genesis with t-shirts, licensed merchandise, and said collections, it’s also SEGA’s problem. Gamers know that OTHER video game systems came out, and in today’s retro market, most of them are not only hard to find but also extremely expensive.
To be fair most of the Genesis love is coming from North America. In other parts of the world (Japan being the prime example) SEGA still remembers their other consoles fondly. When the Saturn launched in Japan in 1994 the system sold out on the first day and even outsold the PlayStation. Sadly we all know that the launch of the system here in North America was a near wash and it was Sony who walked away on top. SEGA had a last-ditch effort with the Dreamcast but once the PS2 was launched, that’s all she wrote for SEGA being in the console market. It’s clear to many that because the other systems weren’t the big hit sellers like the Genesis was, SEGA wants to brush them under the rug. It’s a practice that Nintendo has done in the past with the commercial flop of the Virtual Boy so it makes sense that SEGA of America wants to distance itself from past failures. Yet times change, those kids who had to pick between certain consoles are older now, and they have what is referred to as “Adult Money”. Gamers want to experience the other game sand systems that SEGA had to offer, but pickings are slim to none and it’s time for SEGA to change that practice.
To be fair there are some games from the SEGA Saturn and Dreamcast that you could purchase digitally from platforms like Steam and some Dreamcast titles were available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 digitally. The Game Gear even got some love on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShop but those will be closing soon at the time of this writing. So what should SEGA do with their older console games? While going full blast and releasing a ton of content sounds like a good idea, it’s quite the opposite. We don’t want a repeat of the late 90s with SEGA churning out extras nearly every other week so slow and steady is the pace they should use. A good start would be to add SEGA Saturn games to something like the Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) service. SEGA could make the Saturn games part of the same tier as the Genesis and N64 games so gamers wouldn’t have to be spending more money to access them. Along with putting games on the NSO the best way they can get people interested is by releasing a “Greatest Saturn Hits” collection for modern consoles. You can have classics like Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, and even sweeten the deal by localizing some Japan-only games. Should sales of that do decent, then start on a Dreamcast collection and go from there. Before you know it, we could be seeing more collections in the same vein as the Genesis Collections, or even mini consoles.
While all of this may sound like an amazing idea, there is one more thing to consider. Retro gaming is a very niche part of video games as a whole. While you may be online and watching tons of content creators yell and scream at SEGA to make their older games more accessible (yours truly included) that still doesn’t change the fact that SEGA is a business. They have to know that gamers will buy these collections