Sega is about to bring all of its classic games to mobile, and you're going to be able to play them for free. The games will all feature leaderboards, touch-screen controls, and controller support. Classic Genesis and Game Gear games will be coming to mobile, as well games from the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast. This new initiative is called Sega Forever, and it's meant to bring a wider awareness to Sega's IPs as well as introduce a new method of Sega capitalizing on those IPs. Check out the wild 90's inspired launch trailer above.
Starting tomorrow, Sega will begin rolling out classic games, for free, on iOS and Android. First up will be Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, Phantasy Star II, Kid Chameleon, and Altered Beast. Sega then plans to release an additional one or two games every month hereafter. It believes that it has more than enough classic games that fans want to see, and believes that it can keep the service relevant and exciting for years to come.
The games will feature non-intrusive ads, and this is how Sega is going to make money. The games weren't designed to feature ads, though, so you're not going to get a pop-up in the middle of a stage or anything like that. If you choose to do so, you'll be able to remove ads entirely for a one-time payment of $1.99.
"The games were never designed for ads or in-app purchases, which is why we've maintained this faithful emulation experience," Sega Network's chief marketing officer Mike Evans said in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "We've spent a lot of time looking at the analytics from the soft launch in the Philippines to understand how we can get this model to be the best for the game experience itself whilst balancing the commercial needs we have."
Evans also revealed that, even though certain Sega classics have already made their way to mobile with price-tags attached, it won't be an issue bringing them into the Sega Forever fold. "It's a very easy conversion to take those games to free," he said. "We're just bolting in the advertising support model and a single in-app purchase that can disable those ads."
Sega believes that this will turn out well for everyone. Retro game lovers will get to play some of their favorite titles on their phones for free any time they want. Sure, those games are also available for a small fee on Steam and other services like Nintendo's Virtual Console, but Sega doesn't believe that any of these different versions will cannibalize interest in the others. They all offer unique pros and cons for those who wish to play. In the end, Sega gets another incredibly viable revenue stream, larger awareness and excitement around its strongest IPs, and fans get to enjoy their nostalgia overload.
Look for Sonic the Hedgehog to spearhead the first round of Sega Forever titles on your smartphone tomorrow. You can learn more on the official Sega Forever website.