Sega today announced a new mobile gaming initiative that will see a vast collection of the company's classic games launch monthly on iOS and Android devices for free, although in-app purchases will be available so users can get rid of ads. Called "Sega Forever," the program will let iOS gamers play "nearly every Sega game ever," from all of Sega's previous console generations, including Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Dreamcast, and Saturn (via GamesIndustry.biz).
The games will be available as individual apps, with the first five appearing at launch including Sonic The Hedgehog [Direct Link], Comix Zone [Direct Link], Phantasy Star II [Direct Link], Kid Chameleon [Direct Link], and Altered Beast [Direct Link]. At the time of writing, none of the apps had yet to appear on the iOS App Store, but their launch should be imminent. After that, Sega plans to debut between two and three games from its classic library every month under the Sega Forever initiative.
All of the games will be supported by advertisements with an optional $1.99 in-app purchase to remove them. But Sega Network chief marketing officer Mike Evans promised that the integration of ads has been executed so as to not interrupt gameplay.
With the back catalogue Sega has available, the publisher is confident it will be able to continue bringing more classics to mobile for years to come. There are 15 classic Sega titles already available through the App Store that will also be brought into the Forever fold.
"It's a very easy conversion to take those games to free," Sega Network's chief marketing officer Mike Evans tells GamesIndustry.biz. "We're just bolting in the advertising support model and a single in-app purchase that can disable those ads."
"The games were never designed for ads or in-app purchases, which is why we've maintained this faithful emulation experience," he says. "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."
Enhancements to Sega's old games include Messages sticker packs, leaderboards, achievements, cloud saves, touch screen controls, Bluetooth controller support, and an offline play option. Looking toward the future, Evans said that the company will hold user polls to gauge which classic games that its fans want to see most come to mobile.
The first five Sega Forever titles should begin populating on the iOS App Store soon. Users can go to Sega's website to sign up for email alerts that will notify them when new games are announced for the collection. For even more information about the new mobile initiative from Sega, check out Mike Evans' interview with GamesIndustry.biz.