Economy crash puts paid to retro hardware rereleases
At the weekend, Sega Japan announced that it was releasing a new piece of portable hardware in the form of the Sega Mega Drive Mini II, a pint-sized edition of the 1993 console that will come pre-loaded with 50 Sega Mega Drive and Mega CD classics. Given that the Mega Drive Mini already exists, some fans might be puzzled as to why Sega has not instead focused on releasing a scaled-down model of its 1994 console, Sega Saturn, or its 1998 big brother, the Sega Dreamcast.
Speaking with Famitsu, Sega hardware producer Yosuke Okunari offered up the unfortunate news that a Sega Saturn Mini or a Sega Dreamcast Mini are both very unlikely to ever see the light of day. Okunari understands that the audience is there for such consoles, but states that a combination of expensive components, further hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on manufacturing costs, has simply made the project uneconomical from both a production and finance perspective.
Okunari also suggested that the components used by Sega’s Mini consoles are not quite up-to-spec in regards to running Sega Saturn titles — a console that is notoriously difficult to authentically emulate. Okunari jokes that the process of producing a Sega Saturn Mini in 2022 might see it launch with a price rivaling that of modern-day consoles. So it seems, for now at the very least, the Mega CD is as far as we are going in regards to the Sega Mini range.
The Sega Mega Drive Mini 2 launches in Japan October 27, priced at ¥9,980 (roughly $75 USD). Sega is yet to confirm whether this edition will also be released in the west. For more details on the console, check out @gosokkyu’s Twitter thread translating/paraphrasing the Famitsu interview.