Any publicity is good publicity, and someone as prominent in the industry as Evans paying Apple TV this kind of attention only adds up to the best kind of publicity. The simple fact that many will have read the interview and had the dots of SEGA, gaming, and Apple TV joined for them will make for some good awareness of the platform as a gaming option.
If some of the games in the SEGA Forever initiative are released as dedicated Apple TV ports, then this could bring even more recognition, even if it is at a retro-enthusiast level to begin with. You have to plant your grass roots somewhere, and that crowd is a pretty good place to start, given its enthusiasm. Once in the door via the classics, that crowd can be targeted by developers releasing new games onto the platform. Any market at all is what Apple TV as a gaming platform needs, and SEGA might be helping to drive that growth with its initiative.
But wait, we’ve skipped a step. What is SEGA Forever?
It’s ambitious is what it is. As Evans explained to MCV, SEGA’s 1000 game catalogue – ranging from the Master System to the Dreamcast – will be brought to mobile for free, with an ad after you hit play, and before you save a game, but not during gameplay like many free-to-play models. Monetisation will be driven by a one-off purchase that does away with the ads, allows offline play, and also local saving, as opposed to the cloud saving that comes with the free-to-play structure.
New games will be released every month, and today saw the first batch hit the wild on iOS and Android – Sonic The Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star II, Kid Chameleon, and Comix Zone. All have controller support too.
So where does Apple TV fit in?
“…imagine if you can send the game up into your Apple TV, Android TV or Chromecast,” said Evans in his interview with MCV. “And the latency is good, it’s definitely acceptable to play these games, we’ve done lots of testing. Everything will work, bluetooth controllers as well, so if you want a d-pad and that console like experience, you’ve got it.”
It sounds like Evans is talking about AirPlay Mirroring here. We haven’t tested SEGA’s releases yet with a controller and AirPlay, but we’ll get onto it and report back. We would expect arcade platform games to suffer from the experience with at least some latency, and also the screen proportioning not being native to a TV experience. An RPG which doesn’t require twitch gameplay might suit AirPlay Mirroring much better though. But we’ll test them out and see.
A native app released for the Apple TV would obviously be the ideal end-goal, and Evans seemed to allude to this possibility at his second mention of the device, after talking about a dedicated TV component of the Forever initiative. “…as we extend what we’re doing and down the line, with an Apple TV proposition and a subscription model, some of the more long tail niche content, we can put on there as well,” Evans told MCV.
We’ll definitely be more excited about the idea of SEGA Forever if it eventuates in Apple TV ports, but just knowing SEGA’s Chief Marketing Officer is aware of the device as a growth market is exciting. More so really for what it could mean for new games, and the creation of an audience for them on Apple TV, rather than just retro releases.
But like we said, you have to start somewhere, and with the quality of the games we’ve been covering in the last six months here at ATVG, and the attention SEGA could potentially bring, we might yet have a lot more to cover.
Check out SEGA Forever’s ’80s throwback trailer: