Wii

Sega Ending Virtual Console Distribution of Sonic Games in Japan

by Daan Koopman - March 16, 2012, 6:33 am PDT
Total comments: 26 Source: (Inside-Games)

The Wii Shop Channel is getting even thinner.

Several Sonic games on the Wii's Virtual Console will be pulled from the service in Japan, according to a report by Inside-Games.

The ones mentioned are the Mega Drive games; Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic & Knuckles as well as the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog. They will be removed by the end of the month, though no specific reasons are given for the removal of the titles. Additionally, the fate of other Sonic titles is uncertain but will remain available for the time being.

This new announcement is the latest in a worrying trend for the shop in Japan. In total, 30 titles are planned to be removed by the month's end. This mostly contains Irem's libary and Hudson's WiiWare endeavors, but these latest deletions appear to be odd choices. We will keep you updated as the story progresses.

Talkback

Clearly, Sega is going out of business. Clearly.

Haha.


Seriously though, would this perhaps be Sega trying to get people to buy these Sonic games on the eShop instead of the Wii VC in the future? They are mostly the same games, right?

Perhaps Sega's cut on the eShop is a lot more advantageous to them?

EnnerMarch 16, 2012

Odd pulls from the store. I guess contracts, licenses, or some such have expired?

BlkPaladinMarch 16, 2012

Some dl services have floor and ceiling limits on the software sales and it probally wasn't living up those limits, so the titles are getting pulled. I don't know the terms so I'm not going to speculate.

Quote from: BlkPaladin

Some dl services have floor and ceiling limits on the software sales and it probally wasn't living up those limits, so the titles are getting pulled. I don't know the terms so I'm not going to speculate.

That doesn't make any sense; I'd be shocked if the Sonic games weren't among the best-selling games on the service, at least in terms of Genesis titles. If beloved entries in a long-running and still-active franchise aren't selling well, what the hell is? And since they're Sega's own games, rights issues are out of the question as well. This is just odd.

Chozo GhostMarch 16, 2012

Sega doesn't want to support the Wii with current titles like Sonic Generations either. Maybe them pulling their VC titles is somehow related to that. Maybe Sega views the Wii as an obsolete system which is more or less dead, which like it or not is a view that does have some merit.

At least they are supporting the 3DS, and will hopefully support the WiiU as well. It just seems like to them the Wii is dead and they decided to just move on. And before anyone attacks or criticizes Sega for this, let me point out its not like Nintendo is really giving their utmost to support the Wii anymore, either. The bottom line is I think its just a matter of time before the entire Virtual Console on the Wii gets shut down. Sega is just a bit ahead of the curve.

MagicCow64March 16, 2012

I dunno, even if they think the Wii's goose is cooked, why wouldn't they just leave the games up and let revenue trickle in? They've already done the work of putting the games up, and even implemented the Sonic and Knuckles feature across the Genesis games. And you'd have to assume that the Virtual Console is going to continue to exist on the Wii U.

This is speculation, but I think it could be a sign that content providers are getting cold feet about platform aggregation, kinda like how more and more studios are bailing on Netflix to set up their own distribution systems (i.e. better gouge consumers). I think this is short-sighted thinking in the entertainment industry, and would be in the game industry as well. If they set up shop with a SegaWeb portal or join up with EA Origins or some such they might get to charge more and keep more of the profit. 

shinyray01March 16, 2012

Seems odd for Sega to pull those title. I wonder if they will do this in Europe and NA as well. I should probably buy Sonic the Hedgehog 2 while I still have the chance

1takauchihaMarch 17, 2012

I had a hard time finding a replacement Wii, only to have someone tell me Nintendo wouldn't sell them anymore. I really don't believe it, such a thing is stupid. It's just like saying 'since we've made a 3DS now, let's stop selling all DS Lites and DSi now' And yet, you can still find them in stores easy.
But of course, with all the stuff leaving the Wii Shop, maybe it is true? I'm glad I got the black Wii while I could :'(

xcwarriorMarch 17, 2012

Feel like I should maybe use the Nintendo points I have on any 3rd party titles I was looking to buy. This is getting crazy. Though it at least there aren't any WiiWare games that have gone yet.

joshnickersonMarch 17, 2012

Quote from: 1takauchiha

I had a hard time finding a replacement Wii, only to have someone tell me Nintendo wouldn't sell them anymore. I really don't believe it, such a thing is stupid. It's just like saying 'since we've made a 3DS now, let's stop selling all DS Lites and DSi now' And yet, you can still find them in stores easy.
But of course, with all the stuff leaving the Wii Shop, maybe it is true? I'm glad I got the black Wii while I could :'(

Considering that over 5.5 million Wii consoles were sold last quarter, I doubt they'll be ceasing production anytime soon.

TJ SpykeMarch 17, 2012

Quote from: 1takauchiha

I had a hard time finding a replacement Wii, only to have someone tell me Nintendo wouldn't sell them anymore. I really don't believe it, such a thing is stupid.

They may have been referring to the backwards-compatible Wii that can play GameCube games. I think they stopped making that, and only make the gimped one now.

lolmonadeMarch 18, 2012

I have concerns over what kind of foreshadowing this has for the Wii Virtual Console.  The TMNT one made a bit more sense for issues over licensing, but R-Type and Sonic?

Might be paranoid thinking, but maybe they're pulling the games from Wii and intend on re-releasing them on Wii U?  I understand I can't expect Wii's Virtual Console to be supported forever, but I'd hope it's still at least available to download from a few years after the Wii U coming out, and I'm not aware of any instances for Xbox and PS3 where a publisher has taken BACK a game from PSN or XBL.

ShayminMarch 18, 2012

Quote from: lolmonade

I have concerns over what kind of foreshadowing this has for the Wii Virtual Console.  The TMNT one made a bit more sense for issues over licensing, but R-Type and Sonic?

Might be paranoid thinking, but maybe they're pulling the games from Wii and intend on re-releasing them on Wii U?

It's not paranoid thinking, it's common practice. They put Sonic on the freaking click-wheel iPod, for chrissake. Hell, my theory was they were doing a Sonic Mega Collection++ for Wii.

Though I wonder what this means for Wii->WiiU download transfers...

broodwarsMarch 18, 2012

I wonder if Sega's trying to restore some value to their old Sonic games by increasing their scarcity.  It's become something of a joke how ubiquitous these games have become on other services.  For instance, half a dozen Genesis games (two of which were Sonic games) have been given away for free twice on PSN for PS+ users.  And I've lost track now of just how many Sonic or Genesis Collections (that include the Sonic games)  have been put out now.  The old Sonic games aren't worth anything anymore because you can find them everywhere and you often have to pay very little for them.

Also, this is just pure speculation but do we know if Nintendo charges companies to keep their games on their download service after a certain period of time?  Maybe they do and Sega's "lease" expired on their Sonic games, and they didn't want to pay any additional money to keep them there?  I doubt that's the case, but it makes about as much sense as anything else that Sega does these days.

What sense would it make to eliminate the way of purchasing these games that nets the most money? I don't know about PSN, but on XBLA the Sonic Genesis games are $5, while they're $8 on Wii. I have to think the games would be selling pretty well, at least compared to a lot of the other stuff on the Wii Virtual Console right now.

broodwarsMarch 18, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

What sense would it make to eliminate the way of purchasing these games that nets the most money? I don't know about PSN, but on XBLA the Sonic Genesis games are $5, while they're $8 on Wii.

That would make sense if people were actually paying $8 to have these games on Wii.  The people who likely care about the virtual console are also likely the kind of gamer who owns more than one console.  When a game is $8 on one console and $5 (or free) on another, why would you pay $8 to have it on Wii?  Maybe Sega doesn't like how the sales are going on these games right now, and they'd like to discount them to encourage sales but Nintendo doesn't allow sales or price cuts on their digital services.

TJ SpykeMarch 18, 2012

There isn't really a reason for Sega to pull the games though, its free revenue for them.

brood, don't forget that Sega actually did have a sale on some of their VC games in December 2009. I think that was the only time it happened, don't know why.

Yeah, less revenue is still better than no revenue.

broodwarsMarch 19, 2012

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Yeah, less revenue is still better than no revenue.

Like I said, we don't know the real reason for this. I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo, given their long history of shortsightedness with online services, only leased the space on the Virtual Console for those Sonic games for X number of years.  Now, years later, hypothetically the lease is up and Nintendo wants more money to keep the games on the service.  Sega looks at the inability (outside that one time in the history of the Virtual Console) to have sales and the lower sales they're seeing now on the VC, and they say "no" to renewing the lease.  The titles get yanked, and here we are.  If we see this happen in NA, that could very well be the reason.

I just don't see the logic in Sega yanking the games unless there's a financial reason we don't know about.  Sega is known for making extremely bad decisions, but they have a good financial history with Sonic so I don't think it likely that they're being morons in this case.

EnnerMarch 19, 2012

If the leasing theory was true, wouldn't other third-party games on the Virtual Console have expired long before Sonic's term was up?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Virtual_Console_games_(Japan)
Sonic the Hedgehog Sega August 5, 2008 A

Fantasy Zone Sega March 11, 2008 A
Gradius Konami December 2, 2006 A

There are third-party titles available since the launch of the service and I doubt they are being purchased more often than Sonic games.

broodwarsMarch 19, 2012

Quote from: Enner

If the leasing theory was true, wouldn't other third-party games on the Virtual Console have expired long before Sonic's term was up?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Virtual_Console_games_(Japan)
Sonic the Hedgehog  Sega  August 5, 2008  A

Fantasy Zone  Sega  March 11, 2008  A
Gradius  Konami  December 2, 2006  A

There are third-party titles available since the launch of the service and I doubt they are being purchased more often than Sonic games.

By the same token, perhaps (assuming the theory was true), those 3rd parties decided to renew their leases.  I don't know.  We'll probably have a better idea what's going on in the coming months if we see more games being pulled from the VC, especially in NA and by other companies.  Seeing Sega just remove these games and just in Japan makes no logical sense unless there's a financial reason.  Sega removing the titles to increase scarcity (and increase value) or removing them to avoid a Nintendo fee are the only financial possibilities that makes sense to me until I hear a better one.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorMarch 19, 2012

:(


This is horrible horrible news.

TJ SpykeMarch 19, 2012

Has anyone from NWR staff tried contacting Nintendo or Sega for an explanation?

Fatty_The_HuttMarch 19, 2012

I get mixed up with the various Sega consoles and the versions of Sonic games on them. Can anyone untangle a few things? I already have the "Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection" compilation for PS3 which has Sonic 1,2 and 3 and Sonic and Knuckles on it so, when this article talks about the Mega Drive and Master System versions of Sonic games, are those any different?
I know I'm essentially being lazy with this question but I figure of anyone just knows this stuff cold and wants to explain, that'd be superdeedooper.

Mega Drive is the Japanese name for the Genesis, so those are the ones you have on the compilation. The Master System is Sega's 8-Bit predecessor to the Genesis, which got a separate series of Sonic games.

tendoboy1984April 01, 2012

Here's my take on things:


The Wii is dying, and all it's digital content (Virtual Console, WiiWare, etc.) will be transferable to the Wii U. The Wii Shop (which includes Virtual Console and WiiWare) will be replaced with a universal eShop service (like what the 3DS uses), and we will be able to purchase both 3DS and Wii U software from this single online shop.

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