The Nintendo Switch will soon get 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 another version will be available exclusively in Japan. Nintendo unveiled the Genesis Wireless Controller yesterday during its Nintendo Direct launch, along with the new Switch compatible release of the Nintendo 64 controller.
When the Sega Genesis first hit the shores of the United States in 1989, there came a controller with only three face buttons (and a start button). This made it less than ideal for a number of games that would appear in subsequent years, using the eight-button controller of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. To address this, around 1993, Sega released a six-button controller 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 is also releasing new first-party N64 and Genesis controllers for the Switch. Of course, many are wondering what versions of the Genesis Road will be available, and now Nintendo has an answer.
As noted 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. In contrast, only the four-button version of the controller was displayed in promotional material for Western countries. IGN contacted 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 spokesman explains the reasoning: “For the US and Canada, a replica of the original SEGA Genesis controller is the available model. It was by far the more used and well-known Sega Genesis controller in these regions.“
It is noteworthy that both the local versions of the Nintendo Switch’s Genesis controller are likely to be compatible with all different models of the Switch, just like the majority of other switch peripherals. Western players can still get their hands on the six-button Genesis Road through international sellers, but the price can change, of course. As 14 Sega Genesis games are coming to Switch soon and more may be added in the future, the six-button controller may be needed more than you think.
This is another strange 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. Fortunately, there are still a variety of third-party Genesis controllers available for the Switch for those who do not want to bother importing a first-party from Japan.
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