News Article

SEGA Drops Four Sonic Games from Japanese VC

Posted by James Newton

Are we next?

SEGA is taking four Sonic games off the Virtual Console in Japan.

The Mega Drive/Genesis games Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic & Knuckles will all be removed from sale on 30th March, along with Sonic the Hedgehog on Master System.

There's currently no word on whether these games will remain up in Europe or North America but we're enquiring with SEGA.

These games are just the latest in a line of VC removals that's seen Europe lose six games and three Turbografx-16 games taken away. Four Sonic games are by far the highest profile removals we've seen; let's just hope they stay up in North America and Europe.

[via nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (99)

Flowerlark

#1

Flowerlark said:

I wonder why they keep taking VC games down? Don't they want the money from the sales?

bahooney

#2

bahooney said:

Maybe it has something to do with keeping them up there costs more money than they're getting back?

Rawk_Hawk

#3

Rawk_Hawk said:

Next week Nintendo will announce they are removing Super Mario Bros. 3 from the VC. Why? Just because they feel like it.

ocarinaoftime

#4

ocarinaoftime said:

never again will i buy vc games... I didnt spend money to have them taken back.....i have 90 vc games... i feel bad for buyin them now....and i got rid of alot of my collection to get vc games ... Never again....

The_Fox

#5

The_Fox said:

@bahooney
"Maybe it has something to do with keeping them up there costs more money than they're getting back?"

Doubtful. I imagine the Sonic games are in the top 25% of VC sales.

Hyperstar96

#6

Hyperstar96 said:

@ocarinaoftime You won't lose the games you already bought; this just means that no one else will be able to buy the games after they're removed. Anyone whose already bought the games will always keep them.

James

#9

James said:

Frankly if you don't have these games already you should be ashamed of yourself.

Terra

#11

Terra said:

Oh wow, didn't expect big name titles such as main Sonic titles to be taken down. What is going on exactly? :|

TrueWiiMaster

#12

TrueWiiMaster said:

That's pretty surprising, since Sega owns all rights to Sonic, as far as I know, and usually gets along with Nintendo pretty well. Is there any reason behind this at all?

Oregano

#13

Oregano said:

Huh Sonic being removed is a surprise... wonder if it has anything to do with Nintendo Network and/or Wii U?

Hejiru

#14

Hejiru said:

Sonic 1 and 2 of all things? Taking them down is a horrible decision. What's wrong with them?

FluttershyGuy

#15

FluttershyGuy said:

This kind of thing highlights why I'm becoming less and less fond of digital downloads, and prefer physical media. I don't like the idea of something going wrong with my system, resulting in loss of games, then when I go to redownload, the game has either been de-listed or it's unavailable for whatever reason. A Sonic cartridge would never disappear into thin air. That does not, however, preclude me from being a dumb dumb and losing it. :P

Have to wonder what's going to disappear next. :(

Knux

#16

Knux said:

This is horrible. This really shows that the VC is dying, and it's (mostly) Nintendo's fault. :|

I wouldn't be surprised if Mario games start disappearing off the VC next. This also makes physical media even more appealing than ever before.

Malkeor

#17

Malkeor said:

Things like this make people lose faith in digital downloads.
It's just going to cause paranoia in the future. People will be saying, "Hey sweet! But I think i'll get it later, I don't have time to play it right now, i'm low on cash right now..." Many reasons.
But then they'll be wondering when they'll disappear, constantly worrying it's going to go out.

Sure the early adopters had all the time in the world, but for those newcomers or those who have had the system for only a short while, and were greatly interested in the VC aspect....well that's just a darn shame.

Mike1

#18

Mike1 said:

This is stupid, why take down Sonic games? I already own all of the VC games I plan on buying, but this pretty much proves that the VC is dead!

WaLzgiStaff

#19

WaLzgi said:

Well this settles it. Nintendo has no need for a has-been hedgehog >:3

Incognito_D

#22

Incognito_D said:

Weren't the VC Sonic games horrible 50Hz ports anyway? You'd be better of just buying Sonic Mega Collection for Gamecube - less money than buying them all seperately and it's in glorious full-speed. :)

RevolverLink

#23

RevolverLink said:

I really do not like this trend at all, but I personally wouldn't feel too put out if they took Sonic 1 and 2 away from my VC collection and gave me my points back (I've been meaning to add Zombies Ate My Neighbors and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for ages). I'm planning on buying the ludicrously cost effective Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection soon, anyway.

Cipher

#25

Cipher said:

Clearly this has to be SEGA's decision, but I can't see any reason why they would have to remove these games. I'm very confused and concerned by this. Is there some content in these games which SEGA doesn't own? Are they moving these games to another platform on exclusive terms?

Malkeor

#26

Malkeor said:

There's only 1 possible explanation.
Dreamcast 2. They are moving their IP to their own VC.

James

#28

James said:

Sonic isn't actually all that popular in Japan so I imagine it's not such a huge loss.

However the timing of all these removals — I'm told there will be 30 games taken off the VC in Japan this month — suggests to me it's some sort of contractual/financial year thing.

Dreadjaws

#30

Dreadjaws said:

@Nintendanforth

This is the only theory here that makes sense. I don't see SEGA making another console, and if there were ending contracts they would have told us. Yet they JUST started having Game Gear games in the 3DS VC, which clearly means SEGA is not at odds with Nintendo. Besides, SEGA games are not the only ones taken out.

Still, an explanation would be nice.

Jamix012

#31

Jamix012 said:

I have some sort of feeling that a WiiU re-release later this year might be responsible. Perhaps with new features? Though I could be very wrong.

Cipher

#32

Cipher said:

@Nintendanforth I doubt it, since there'd be absolutely no sales from April 1 onwards, and the sales surge over the next two weeks wouldn't level that out.

@James I could understand it being somehow related to the end of the fiscal year if a contract was involved and said as much, but I can't understand how that would only affect certain games. The Sonic games being removed make no sense - Sonic 3's staying up as is Sonic 2 on MS. I can't see it being anything other than something specific to the games being removed.

weirdproq

#34

weirdproq said:

Maybe they're going to bring these games to the 3DS Virtual Console. My reasoning for this? These games are being taken off of the Japanese Virtual Console. Now why would they do that? Is it because they're not sell well? No. Is it because most people who would buy these games bought them already and Sega thinks they won't sell more copies? It's maybe a possibility. Is it something to do with the Wii U coming out? I don't know. Is it because Sega remembers that they made a handheld gaming system that could play Genesis games, and a converter for the Game Gear that could play Master System games? Maybe. This last question is my best guess as to why Sega is taking down these games from the Wii's Virtual Console.

Light-Of-Hope

#37

Light-Of-Hope said:

Who's idea is it, Dr. Eggman? Just kidding....

Well that sucks, they have to get it before it's too late. But as long as they have Sonic Mega Collection from Gamecube, they're good. I still have that game and didn't download it from VC, but in Japan, I'm still sad. But the question is: Why Sonic 3 only remains on the list? Strange...........

vio

#38

vio said:

Now people can truly say VC is dying. Yeah, we're still getting a few games, but the service is losing more than it's gaining. And now it's losing, top selling high profile games to boot. This is crap.

Linkstrikesback

#40

Linkstrikesback said:

@James
Have them? Sure. Have them on the wii virtual console when you could get all the megadrive games for the price of one wii download? Not so much.

sc100

#43

sc100 said:

These could have been removed because of very low sales. As some have mentioned, Sonic was never popular in Japan. Sales of Sonic games are likely much higher in the West and because of that I'm not worried that they'll be removed here.

Imagine23

#44

Imagine23 said:

okay, I can understand licensed movie games being removed for license issues, but what's the deal with removing games that are just game franchises?

WaLzgiStaff

#45

WaLzgi said:

I find it hilarious that people are referring to these as "top selling games" when we don't know any numbers :P

Rensch

#46

Rensch said:

What is this all of a sudden. It's getting worse. Why is it that so many VC games are taken down.

madgear

#47

madgear said:

@Lordlz true but there is a top sellers list on the Wii shop and pretty much all the Sonic games are in there amongst the Mario games.

CrazyOtto

#49

CrazyOtto said:

I wonder why Sonic 3 wasn't mentioned even though Sonic & Knuckles (unless Sega referred S3 and S&K as one game when mentioning this.) I also wonder why it's just the Sonic games and nothing else since I really doubt something like Vectorman would be more popular over there than Sonic. I guess Japanese Wii owners can still play the Sonic games on the system with Sonic Mega Collection.

DarkEdi

#50

DarkEdi said:

I have the Sonic Collection on Gamecube, and the Wii is retrocompatible so no problem for me. But... March is the month were the VC is dissapearing!!

If the VC will be gone forever I preffer they give us this year all games 3X1 or something like that.

CrazyOtto

#52

CrazyOtto said:

I just read James's comment about the possibility of 30 games being removed. Dang, I wonder if something like that is going to happen at the end of every month now!

TKOWL

#53

TKOWL said:

Well, I already own all of them on Sonic Mega Collection, so I'm not worried myself.

But why they'd do this is baffling.

MarkyVigoroth

#54

MarkyVigoroth said:

Kehhei!
...this would go even worse, since the high Sonic fans would blast Sega for getting rid of all the good Sonic games.

(The high Sonic fans are those who insist that the Genesis games are the only true games, yet are responsible for hating on inocucous innovations, which include the mine cart and the Homing Attack.
The low Sonic fans are those at the other range, for example, those who make obvious Sonic re-colours that are supposedly faster than Sonic without an EXtreme Gear.)

dizzy_boy

#55

dizzy_boy said:

there are some shockingly bad mega drive games on the VC. why sega didn`t remove those first, i`ll never know.

XD375

#57

XD375 said:

Maybe they're getting ready for The Taxman's remakes of these games. ;D

DrCruse

#58

DrCruse said:

Could be some kind of contract issue, or they may be planning a compilation and don't want the VC games to be a drag on compilation sales?

Luffymcduck

#60

Luffymcduck said:

I have them on DS and I´m fine with that version. Mario and DKC are much better series anyways.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#62

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

I have them on cartridge, DS, and Wii. I'm fine. Plus, it's only in Japan. Sega wouldn't harm North America, where Sonic has a huge fanbase.

NINTENBOY

#63

NINTENBOY said:

If the reason for them takin down so many VC games is because of a lack of sales you could've featured those games Nintendo on your show or sale them at a discounted price cause honestly 8 bucks to download a 25 year old game that is phyically worth a quarter is a bit of a rip-off.

Anyway atleast make a deadline for the games your about to take down public. That would make the sales go up by like 100% you know give people a chane to buy em and get a little extra cash out of them don't just take em down like that.

P.S. Phuck Sega their still on my s#it list I really wouldn't care about the sonic games if they were taken down here and I wouldn't be suprised if Sega personaly took them off of the VC for no good reason just like how they didn't put Sonic Generations and Sonic 4 episode 2 on the Wii for no good reason even though Sonic games always sale the most on the Wii but whatever just stop wasting time people and buy some of these VC games already.

bro2dragons

#64

bro2dragons said:

I'm sure this will never be seen by the staff under this pile of comments, but one of you guys (James, Corbie, Thomas... any newswriter) needs to interview someone about WHY games are suddenly being pulled off the shop faster than their being put up. I'd do the interview, myself, if I have the clout as a game journalist that you do.

But why is this happening? Are they paring down the shop so they can re-upload them during the Wii U's life? It can't be licensing issues since Sonic is owned by Sega entirely. Is there a cost to just having a game sit up there?

Until now, this hasn't bothered me except on a matter of principle. But these Sonic games are ones I would have downloaded eventually. So I feel like people really want to know why things like this are coming down.

WaLzgiStaff

#66

WaLzgi said:

Unless you actually plan to buy these games, why should you care? I get the feeling people come here just to whine for the sake of whining :O /sarcasm

jhuhn

#67

jhuhn said:

Looks like Eggman wants to have his way on getting rid of Sonic on the Wii Virtual Console. At least I have the originals from the Genesis.

Nintenbro

#72

Nintenbro said:

You could always purchase the Sonic Mega Collection, but there's no lock-on gaming technology included with that option.

Knuckles

#74

Knuckles said:

Sonic 1 2 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic Spinball all present and accounted for on the GENESIS! Sonic Classic Collection on DS, CHECK. Now wheres our 3D Classics Sonic 1 2 3 and Knuckles Sega? And Episodes 1 and 2 on the eshop?

Retro_on_theGo

#76

Retro_on_theGo said:

Well if it wasn't before, it's confirmed now. The VC is dead. Wii is also basically dead in favor of the Wii U.

ETLN

#77

ETLN said:

Virtual Console games are too expensive in my opinion. The same games on Steam are much cheaper, Nintendo would benefit massively if they had sales periodically.

Tasuki

#78

Tasuki said:

Good thing I still have my Sega Genesis and old Sonic cartridges so I dont have to worry about getting them from the VC.

So all you people who say that digital media is better then physical media where are you now when these great games are being removed from VC? Hmmm if I go to ebay I can still get the physical form so which one is better now? :P

WarioFan63

#79

WarioFan63 said:

Ok I always thought saying "VC is dead" during the western hiatus was silly, but while VC games are being added to the service?

Come on people...

vio

#80

vio said:

@G4L Uh, the lock on technology is present in the Sonic Mega Collection. Where are you getting your info from?

TwilightV

#81

TwilightV said:

I'm going with the compilation theory. Maybe we'll finally get those games Sega said were coming, like Super Hang-On and Monster World IV. :)

James

#83

James said:

@bro2dragons I've asked plenty of publishers about this and just get a 'no comment' 99% of the time. I've reached out to SEGA about this but no response yet.

JimLad

#84

JimLad said:

HD versions are coming to WiiU I expect. I don't know if that's the reason for these game removals, but I would hope they give people free upgrades who already have the standard definition games.

madgear

#85

madgear said:

Well it's looking very unlikely that games are going to be transferable to the next generation now - and that's all consoles if rumours are to be believed. It's all very good having Sonic Mega Collection but that won't work on Wii U either. If I ever got a Wii U I'll be into double figures with Sonic 1 purchases!

PC gaming is the way to go, people. You get to keep your games and transfer them, even if it's a digital download, as people are always making patches to get anything working on new hardware. Every PC game I've ever owned runs on my current system.

Well, it certainly beats having a ton of consoles and cartridges cluttering up your house.

eviLaTtenDant

#86

eviLaTtenDant said:

Once again, thanks for the update. To be safe i just downloaded the two i didn't so far. (S&K and the Master System game) The latter because us nephews played it a lot with our young aunt back in the day. Will be interesting to relive these memories.

Token_Girl

#87

Token_Girl said:

@JimLad

That might make sense. We're still a ways away from WiiU though. These games are probably the most major 3rd party games on the VC. Very distressing (and odd, since all except for Sonic 3 are coming down, and Sonic 3 came out way before S&K). What is Nintendo thinking??? There's really no reason digital games can't be carried on to WiiU. I may have to pick them up since S&K isn't on the playstation store, and I'm a bit on the lazy side to get my genesis out. HOWEVER, if I'm not going to be able to transfer these games to the WiiU, I don't think it's worth the money to me.

It would be great to get a statement from SOMEONE on why this is happening.

misswliu81

#88

misswliu81 said:

i just hope this doesn't apply to the V.C in europe. but then again, SEGA might do the same thing, sadly.

FJOJR

#89

FJOJR said:

Wait for the Wii U VC. So we can complain when they take GameCube games down

brooks83

#91

brooks83 said:

I could be wrong, but I think Sega would have the decency to let us know if they were going to remove these games here.

Henmii

#92

Henmii said:

So now even the big profile games get removed!!! This is NOT good!!!

What happened?! Did Nintendo not pay the bills?!

I wonder WHAT nintendo is actually planning for the Wii u shop! Because at this pace the Wii u shop will start out totally empty: All old games removed!!!

I think it's suffice to say now: If there are still some VC games you want to get, get them now!! I guess I should do the same!!

shinesprite

#93

shinesprite said:

I have Sonic Mega Collection for GC, and, growing up, I've played these games numerous times on my neighbours' Sega Genesises (or whatever the plural form of Sega Genesis is).

pntjr

#96

pntjr said:

OH-MY-GOD I WAS JUST ABOUT TO BUY Sonic and Knux!
Good thing I didn't though....

retro_player_22

#97

retro_player_22 said:

Dammit Sega why remove the good Sonic games when you could had remove the crappy ones instead? I'm talking about Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Spinball, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for SMS.

Capt_N

#99

Capt_N said:

This is not the way for Nintendo, Sega, or any dev/pub to combat piracy. If any Nintendo, or Sega employee is reading these comments:
1. We(the people who have been, & are making you money) want to know the reason(s) for this.
2. You guys are not convincing me you have your act together as far as modern home gaming console concepts, such as online play, or online stores in particular.
3. About the time the Wii VC came along, I discovered my nearest local Gamestop stopped selling Nes, SNes, N64, etc. stuff. Now I understand Gamestop tries to stop selling hardware/software of a certain generation, & older(at a certain point, & time). The last retro systems in my GS was a mess of SNes units. But, if Nintendo, or Sega want me to stop buying second-hand games(, b/c I don't go into GS anymore for the most part, w/o knowing specifically what I wanna purchase prior to), then retro online retail might help keep me out of second-hand game stores.

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