It wasn’t too long ago that SEGA announced they’d be switching gears and putting most of their focus on mobile games going forward. Considering trends in the industry, as well as other big publishers that have since followed suit (Konami, Square Enix), it wasn’t a terribly surprising move.
But if they’re going to be a mobile leader, it never hurts to clean house a little first.
News broke a few weeks back that SEGA would be removing multiple games from the App Store and Google Play in the coming weeks, though no specific games were confirmed. The reason? The official company line is “after evaluating our complete list of titles, we have determined that a number of them no longer meet our standards.”
These games aren’t exactly huge sellers anymore (if they ever were), and with every major OS update comes the need to tweak and fiddle to make sure these games will still work. Why waste the manpower on a game that isn’t going to sell?
As of this morning, we now know which games are being removed — because they now have been. Here’s the complete list:
- Afterburner Climax
- Altered Beast
- Columns Deluxe
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Golden Axe
- Golden Axe 2
- Golden Axe 3
- Jet Set Radio
- Phantasy Star 2
- Space Harrier II
- Streets of Rage
- Streets of Rage 3
- Super Monkey Ball
- Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition
- Super Monkey Ball Bounce
- Virtua Fighter 2
The majority of these are legacy titles; ports of classics that were released at an awkward time on the App Store, before anyone had really mastered how to transition smoothly to a touch screen. I say “majority,” though, because there are still a few surprises in here. Super Monkey Ball Bounce, for example, launched just last year and provided a fairly fun offering in the free-to-play genre of Peggle-inspired games.
Conversely, a number of Genesis-era ports weren’t removed. The Sonic games staying should be of no surprise, but titles like Shining Force, Shinobi III and Gunstar Heroes also managed to survived the cut. Even Streets of Rage 2 somehow survived, despite 1 and 3 biting the proverbial dust.
I was also a little surprised to see Crazy Taxi survive. The pessimist in me expected them to kill it in an effort to drive players to the free-to-play Crazy Taxi: City Rush, but hey — the heart wants what it wants.
SEGA says that some of these games could theoretically resurface at a later date, so if there’s something you really want to see come back, tweet @SEGA and let them know.
And don’t worry — if you’ve purchased these games in the past, they’re still available to re-download. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go Shining Force before someone at SEGA realizes they missed one.