Sega has been out of the hardware business for a long time, but still, has some of the most beloved video game franchises around. Today, Sega began releasing classic Sega games under the banner Sega Forever.
The first titles released are Sonic the Hedgehog, which was already available on iOS, Comix Zone, Altered Beast, Kid Chameleon, and Phantasy Star II. The games, which are standalone downloads, are free and include ads that can be removed with a $1.99 In-App Purchase. The Sega Forever website indicates that the next title in line for release is Virtua Tennis Challenge, which is currently $4.99 on the App Store and hasn’t been updated since 2013. For iMessage sticker fans, each game also includes a handful of animated stickers of game art.
Sega plans to release a new title every two weeks. According to an interview on The Verge with Mike Evans, Sega’s chief marketing officer and development lead for Sega Forever, the titles that Sega releases will be driven, in part, by input from fans. Sega is also exploring bringing the games to desktop PCs and console-based services like Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, but possibly using a different business model.
It’s clear from Evans’ comments to The Verge that Sega has studied Nintendo’s sporadic reissue of its back catalog of games and is betting that it can accomplish more by offering it’s library at a lower price. It will be interesting to see if Sega’s wager pays off, but in the meantime, fans will reap the benefits of its efforts to bring their favorites to new platforms.