SEGA’s comeback with its Genesis Mini and here’s what this means to the company
Gaming has quickly become one of the largest sectors in today’s entertainment and media industry. In just a blink of an eye, it has turned into a giant that is larger than music or movie industries.
This is largely because the games themselves have become increasingly immersive and much more fun to play. Take any recent title for PC, PlayStation, or Xbox and you’ll instantly know what we’re talking about. For example, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt from 2015 (almost five years ago!) is still considered one of the best games to play today for its incredibly stunning plot, as well as visuals.
Now, while this visually-stunning sector of video games is flourishing as never before, a new segment is slowly making its entrance. In all fairness, it’d be better to say: an old segment is making its comeback. More and more adult gamers, who were growing up playing PlayStation Classic, Nintendo, or Sega Genesis, are now getting back to where they’ve started. And the companies seem to target this market.
Sega announcing Genesis Mini
A year ago, Sega announced a comeback of its legendary Genesis gaming console with similar looks and games. The new console is called Sega Genesis Mini and it is designed to tap into the market of adults who want to get back to their childhood.
The original Sega Genesis, also known as Mega Drive, was released back in October 1988 in Japan and in 1989 in North America. The console instantly became an overwhelming hit among young gamers. Some of the most famous gaming titles on Sega were “Street Fighter” and “Castlevania.”
Knowing the sentiments of the users, the company has decided to revive its legendary console and equip it with the classic titles such as “Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition”, “World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck”, “Castlevania: Bloodlines”, and many many more. In total, there will be 42 16-bit games pre-installed into the system.
As for its physical dimensions, the Sega Genesis Mini will be just 55% the size of its original ancestor. The console will obviously support two controllers that can be connected via the USB cable while plugging the whole thing into a TV is as easy as it gets.
Tapping into a nostalgia market
According to the analysts in this field, Sega, as well as other companies with similar moves, are trying to increase their coverage into the nostalgia market: those users that have been around the original consoles during their childhood or around that time.
According to them, there weren’t as many options for gaming for those people as there is right now. One option was to visit a gambling site and the other was to buy a console. Either way, it was nothing like today’s VFX-studded video games. Gambling, on the one hand, was and still has remained in its current form (with slight modifications to the games): we still have slots, poker, blackjack, and other entertaining titles.
These experts note that in Australia, for instance, where the gambling culture has always been more prominent, people would visit casinos and play their favorite games. And Aussie real money blackjack was among them.
However, there was one big disadvantage – or advantage, depends on how you look at it – to gambling: teenagers weren’t allowed in casinos. So it was a big No for them to get into this form of entertainment.
Another option, which was a lot more kid-friendly, was to get 16-bit gaming consoles and play “Mario Bros”, “Street Fighter”, or titles like that. Yet these games have been lost along the way, being replaced by the more sophisticated titles like Mortal Kombat 11, Red Dead Redemption 2, etc. Now, Sega is trying to target this audience and revive childhood memories in them.
Other companies following suit
In all fairness, Sega isn’t the only or even the first company to try this method. The legendary console brands such as Sony and Nintendo have also released their own vintage gaming consoles. For instance, the release of Super Nintendo mini-console turned out to be one of the better decisions taken within the company.
Now, even though tapping into a niche market and reanimating childhood memories is certainly a great thing, it certainly doesn’t suggest that either Sega or any other company
will get greater benefit from that. According to Andrei Hagiu, the Boston University associate professor of information systems, these consoles, including the Sega Genesis Mini, are mere “copycats” of their original ancestors and are the easiest way to bring some money to the company.
A tiny move for reviving a company
However, these products won’t save their company from being forgotten or at least neglected in this rapidly-moving gaming industry. Back in the 1990s, when the console wars were full-on between Sega, Sony, and Nintendo, the two companies managed to grow even larger and stronger, yet Sega lagged behind and got lost in the ramble. It was also coupled with terrible sales in 2001 that lead the company to get used to having lost the war.
According to another analyst, Blake J. Harris, who also happens to have written a book about the Console Wars, just to survive in the console business, one has to take extraordinary expenses, which is something that Sega cannot afford. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo have taken a serious leap forward during the recent years, and competing with them would throw Sega into another financial catastrophe.
Therefore, whether Genesis Mini can help increase the sales numbers at Sega is a topic that most probably has one short answer: No. The new-old console is just not something that can dream of competing with high-end gaming devices.
And now, as the already-established companies are releasing their new devices – PS5, for example, while gaming PCs are getting even more powerful to the extent that there’s no competing with them, 16-bit gaming consoles like Genesis Mini prove to be just a nostalgic move and nothing else. And we’re not even talking about the more innovative solutions like cloud gaming; the solutions that are trying to turn everything in the industry upside down.