NSO Mega Drive Controller
Image: Nintendo

Update: Switch's Mega Drive controller is now available to order on My Nintendo Store in the UK. You can grab one right here for £39.99:

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Original Article (Tue 19th Oct, 2021 19:00 BST): With Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games now on Switch for Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscribers, you'll probably be wanting to play them with the controller they were originally designed for. Fortunately, Nintendo released wireless Sega Genesis controllers that are available to purchase by anybody signed up to Nintendo's online service.

Of course, there have been no shortage of wireless Mega Drive pads to use with modern gaming systems over the years, but this one is specifically designed for Switch and comes with some handy extra buttons.

Below we've answered a few questions regarding the new pad, it features, how much they cost and where you can get hold of them.

When can I get these Sega Genesis pads, and how much do they cost?

The new Mega Drive controller for Switch is now up on Nintendo of America's website, although stock doesn't last long. Orders aren't available in Europe at the time of writing.

Each pad costs £39.99 (delivery is free over £20 in the UK), and $49.99 in the US. Being Switch Online exclusives, the official Nintendo site in your region is the only place to buy them new.

Purchases are limited to four per Nintendo Account holder.

Are these Sega Mega Drive controllers identical to the originals?

The NSO Mega Drive pads retain the size, shape and feel of the originals but add the convenience of wireless connectivity, so you're not tethered to the console and forced to sit 3 feet from your 65-inch 4K telly.

The Genesis pads are charged via USB A-C cable. Here's some exciting blurb from Nintendo itself:

  • Form Factor – Play enhanced SEGA Genesis™ games the way they're meant to be played—using a full-size SEGA Genesis style controller
  • Rechargeable Battery – Use the included USB A-C cable to charge the controller
Sega Genesis Pad Switch
The Sega Genesis / Mega Drive controller for Switch. — Image: Nintendo

This new version also includes a tiny 'mode' button on the top, presumably enabling you to play six-button Mega Drive games in an awkward manner, although none of the launch titles on the service require the use of six buttons — and the 'real' six-button pad is a Japan-exclusive at the time of writing.

The new pad also has Home and screenshot Capture buttons on the top.

Do I need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription in order to buy the Sega Genesis controller?

Unfortunately, yes. The NES controllers, which came in a pack of two, were (and still are, in fact) available to purchase exclusively for Nintendo Account holders with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription and it was the same deal with the SNES versions, the N64 pads, and these, too.

That'll need to be a proper subscription, too — you can't get them if you're enrolled on the free trial version. It does appear, however, that you don't need to subscribe to the higher Expansion Pass tier of Nintendo Switch Online in order to purchase the Mega Drive pad.

Image: Nintendo

Do I need a Nintendo 64 controller to play Genesis / Mega Drive games with Nintendo Switch Online?

No! It's important to note that these pads are in no way required to enjoy your Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online games (breathe!) on your Switch — your Joy-Con or Pro Controller will function perfectly well for playing classics like Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2 and Gunstar Heroes. These are optional extras that simply offer a more 'authentic' feel for enthusiasts and nostalgia addicts. They do feel particularly lovely in the hands, though.

However, remember that you will need to have paid for the subscription to the NSO Expansion Pass to access those Sega Genesis games.

Can I play non-Genesis / Mega Drive games on Switch using the Nintendo Switch Online Genesis / Mega Drive controller?

Yes, that should be absolutely fine, although the different buttons might cause compatibility issues.

Genesis Hands
Image: Nintendo

Why can't I get the nice six-button version like they got in Japan?

Because you didn't eat your vegetables when you were a kid. If you're not a Japanese resident, it looks like you'll have to hit ebay and pay over the odds for that version of the pad. Which is what we did, of course:

What's all this 'Genesis / Mega Drive' nonsense?

The Sega Mega Drive was renamed the Sega Genesis for the North American market, whereas in Europe and Japan it's always been the Sega Mega Drive.

We've used images of the Genesis version of the pad throughout this article as a sign of solidarity with our fine friends across the pond. The latter, however, is easily and objectively the cooler name. Yarp.

We'll be updating this article with more information as it surfaces. Got any questions about the wireless Mega Drive controllers for Switch? Share them below and we'll do our best to answer them!

Further reading: