The Nintendo Switch is soon getting its own first-party Sega Genesis controller – but different versions will be released, depending on the country.
The newly-announced Sega Genesis controller for Nintendo Switch will have a different version available exclusively in Japan. Nintendo revealed the wireless Genesis controller during its Nintendo Direct presentation yesterday, along with the new Switch-compatible edition of the Nintendo 64 controller.
When the Sega Genesis first hit the shores of the United States in 1989, it came with a controller that featured only three face buttons (and a start button). This made it less than ideal for a number of games that would come out in the following years, which were making use of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System’s eight-button controller. To address this, Sega released a six-button controller around 1993 that became the new standard alongside the Genesis (without the Sega prefix, also known as the Mega Drive II). With Nintendo’s recent announcement that Genesis games are coming to Nintendo Switch Online, the company will also release new first-party N64 and Genesis controllers for the Switch. Of course, many are wondering which versions of the Genesis pad will be available, and now Nintendo has an answer.
As spotted by IGN, a tweet from the official Nintendo Twitter account shows a six-button version of the Genesis (or Mega Drive II) controller for the Switch. By contrast, only the four-button version of the controller was shown in promo materials for western countries. IGN reached out to Nintendo for clarification and confirmed that, although the Genesis and N64 controllers will be available to all subscribers of Nintendo Switch Online, the seven-button Mega Drive controller will only be sold in Japan. A Nintendo spokesperson explained the reasoning: “For the U.S. and Canada, a replica of the original SEGA Genesis controller is the available model. This was by far the more widely used and well-known Sega Genesis controller in these regions.“
It’s worth noting that both regional versions of the Nintendo Switch’s Genesis controller are most likely compatible with all different models of the Switch, just like the majority of other Switch peripherals. Western gamers could still get their hands on the six-button Genesis pad through international sellers, but naturally, the pricing may change. With 14 Sega Genesis games coming soon to Switch and more to be added in the future, the six-button controller could be more necessary than one might think.
This is another odd bit of marketing from Nintendo. The brand recognition of the original Genesis controller may be stronger in the West, but most people who are old enough to recognize it also remember why the six-button version was more useful. Thankfully, there are still a variety of quality third-party Genesis controllers for the Switch available to those who don’t want to go through the trouble of importing a first-party one from Japan.
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