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Mobile fragmentation to blame for Sega Forever launch woes

But publisher's Mike Evans promises updates on the way that should get nostalgia assault back on track

Sega's newly-launched range of free retro games for mobile has met with some criticism over the quality of its emulation. However, the publisher remains confident about the long-term potential of Sega Forever.

The new brand launched last week and offers classic Sega titles to mobile users for free, with a single purchase to disable the ads and unlock a few additional features. There are five titles in the initial line-up, with plans to release two or three more per month.

Eurogamer reports app store reviews for these first titles are extremely mixed, with several negative reviews declaring the emulation quality to be poor, with complaints including gameplay stuttering and audio issues.

Speaking to our sister site, Sega Network's chief marketing officer Mike Evans deemed the overall reception to Sega Forever to be "really positive" and attributed the problems to the challenges of releasing on so many mobile devices.

"Within mobile, there's a lot of fragmentation," he said. "If you look at all the different OSes, all the different devices - with mobile, as you go live, you get some feedback which you can't get within a sandbox environment. What we're doing is taking that and continue working on it, and try and get every instance of every OS in advance."

Evans admitted the firm's soft launch for Sega Forever "wasn't as strong as it could have been maybe for some of the other apps" but stressed that the full launch is "the tip of the iceberg".

"We've got some really good updates coming out soon which will address some of the challenges of the D-pad, some of the shading as well that we're looking at how to improve," he said. "It's just the start of things."

The marketing exec said Sega is aware of the negative reviews and has been "actively going back to individual consumers one-on-one to address those issues", and is monitoring feedback as best it can to ensure the next wave of titles is better received.

He continued: "We're doing a couple of things. One is listening to all the feedback, two is taking all the data we have - there are many many data points - and feeding that into the production cycle. We're going to test and retest to get it as good as we possibly can. I'm confident the next couple of games and over a period of time you're going to see a marked improvement."

We spoke to Evans ahead of the launch about how Sega Forever could do more than just cash in on nostalgia but also lead to new entries in popular but dormant franchises.

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006