Sega Forever Launch
The games themselves are undeniably some of the best Sega games ever created: Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and Altered Beast. The games are free, but here's the rub: they exist in an ad-supported format. If you want them to play ad-free, that's going to cost you $1.99 per game. With future releases promised that cover not just the Genesis (aka Mega Drive), but also every Sega system, the potential is limitless.
Now for my editorial. This is designed to appeal to a very specific audience, and I recognize that I am not that audience. I have a Sega Genesis connected to a CRT TV at all times, and would much rather play games on a television with a decent screen size instead of on my iPhone. However, I realize that I am not the target for Sega Forever. Retro gaming has become huge, with the Nintendo Classic creating such a craze (manufactured scarcity notwithstanding) that it became a mainstream topic of discussion. Retro gaming has literally never been hotter than it is right now. This may be the pinnacle.
Even if you choose to buy each game for two dollars in order to get rid of the ads, you're still getting an incredible value for your money. These games hold up like gangbusters, and are as playable today as they were 25 years ago. Sega has also teased that--if successful--they could expand the service beyond iOS and Android and offer the games on modern platforms like PC, PS4, Xbox One, and even the Nintendo Switch. Sega also has an ulterior motive with this, which is to see which games people are most interested in so that they can make future games based on consumer interest. That's smart business, if you ask me.
The ad-supported model is understandable, but man, there's a LOT of ads during the gameplay. Just getting started requires you to wade through at least one streaming video ad that you can't immediately turn off, and then you're going to see a lot more as you navigate your way through the menu. The low price of $1.99 is incredibly appealing, allowing the player to turn them all off and go straight to the game. It's smart marketing on Sega's part because these games offer hours of play, and two bucks is a small enough amount to make that impulse buy much easier. You could buy all five of the launch games and still only be out ten dollars, which is roughly what just one of these games would go for in cartridge form on the retro market. The idea that one could build an entire Sega library for $1.99 each--and that the library would be in your pocket--is pretty appealing.