One of the highlights of the week was the announcement of the Mega Drive Mini 2 – Sega’s next miniature console, packed with 50 games from the Mega Drive and Mega CD libraries. It launches in Japan this October and will include games like Sound CD, slipstream and Virtua Racing.
As exciting as this news is, it hasn’t stopped fan requests for miniature versions of Sega Miscellaneous Consoles – like Saturn and Dreamcast. So why did Sega decide to release a Mega Drive 2 instead of something else? In an interview with Famitsu, Yosuke Okunari, maker of classic Sega hardware, explained how the pandemic affected the result.
Here’s what he had to say (courtesy of the Twitter user @gosokkyu):
He’s sure people will say, “What about the Saturn/Dreamcast Mini?” [and] it’s not like her [Sega] haven’t explored the idea – the MD Mini’s internals can’t adequately handle Saturn games, and both designing and manufacturing new chipsets during the pandemic is a difficult and expensive process
…so even if they had gone ahead with a Saturn Mini anyway, it might have been extremely expensive – he jokes that he might like to release a Mini that costs as much as an authentic modern console
And then the Mega Drive Mini 2 came in as an “extension” of the original – making it much more manageable during a pandemic in terms of schedule and manufacturing. It’s worth noting that there will still be a “much lower production run” of this device – with the initial focus on stocking Japan. Okunari is aware of overseas demand but is focusing on Japan for now, where the team knows the market.
Although the price of the second Mega Drive Mini system is higher – due to an improved chipset, more memory for Mega CD games and the higher price of the components – Okunari is confident that the larger game library will justify the price.
Okunari also mentioned how the team considered making another Game Gear Micro, but the increased price of semiconductors made the cost of a second wearable micro device “1.5 times the manufacturing price” of the original micro model. And the team reportedly couldn’t risk selling at the same price and didn’t want to raise the MSRP.
Yosuke Okunari has already mentioned how Sega has been thinking about developing other mini consoles, but for now the focus is on the Mega Drive Mini 2:
Would you like to see Sega release miniature devices based on the Dreamcast and Saturn one day? Would you be willing to pay more? Share your own thoughts with us below.