James Schall, Digital Distribution Director at SEGA, has stated that the ability to mod classic Mega Drive titles will bring a resurgence to classic game sales, and help stem the prolific levels of piracy that old-school games suffer from thanks to the wide-spread availability of emulators and roms.
This certainly seems to be the case, as we reported last week, SEGA's retro game sales were boosted by the launch of the new Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Hub, resulting in 350,000 sales in just one month,.
“Mods are a smart way to work with retro content because they may be games that have not been touched in maybe ten years but people still love them,”
“If consumers want to find something, it’s not that difficult to go on the internet and try and download it illegally. Whereas I think giving people an opportunity to play games and alter them just reenergises the whole platform.”
“We had a lot of discussions internally about modified content and ROMs,” said Schall. “There’s never really been a way for us to officially endorse that. We felt that with the Steam Workshop, we were able to do this in a way that also enabled us to have a little bit of control on what’s going on.”
Schall also addressed the possibility of other classic Sega consoles being given the same treatment; "We want to look at maybe doing some different platforms, as well, but all of that needs to be thought through, discussed and not rushed.”.
This is definitely a wise and forward-thinking approach to a long standing problem; while SEGA has never been able to formally endorse ROM hacks, it has never done anything to discourage the practice, either. This allows SEGA to capitalise on the fan-base, while simultaneously giving them a legitimate avenue of recognition and a wider-audience - definitely a win-win.
“We think it’s very important to allow some very smart gamers and community members out there to play within our space and maybe break some of the limitations we had while in development. Allowing them to play and tweak and adjust and maybe fix the game in a way that they want to play just opens up a whole creative process beyond the development team. That’s really something that Sega is proud of.”
What do you think of this move, and should Nintendo break their mould and follow suit? What platforms would you most like to see take this model? Let us know below!
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