SEGA has officially announced the 'MegaDrive Mini' retro console and aims to take on Nintendo in the space, competing against the likes of the ever-popular NES Classic and SNES Classic mini consoles that Nintendo has released over the last couple of years. The MegaDrive Mini, which SEGA points out will be "provisional name" for the time being, meaning it could be changed upon the console's release to the public, was outed via SEGA's Twitter account on the night of April 13 as part of the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the original SEGA MegaDrive console. Technically the 30th anniversary for the MegaDrive won't be until August 14 of 2019, as the original console released on August 14 of 1989, but SEGA has decided to launch the MegaDrive Mini in 2018 instead, likely to place itself in the running of this growing market for retro games and consoles that play them.
SEGA says that there will be plenty of game masterpieces that can be played on the MegaDrive Mini albeit without mentioning specifics, but chances are the console will feature some iconic and memorable titles, such as Altered Beast, which is one of the games that was launched alongside the original console nearly 30 years ago. The console may also come with other games that were available with the original MegaDrive at launch, but no information on what titles will be available has been shared by SEGA publicly at this time so everything is up in the air at this point. That said with SEGA having stated that the console will play many masterpieces, those familiar with the original MegaDrive and its most popular games can likely deduce which games have the best chance of being featured with the upcoming retro offering.
Another piece of information that is unclear is what the MegaDrive Mini will cost, and whether or not it will come pre-installed with ROM versions of the old games, or if it will play cartridges instead. It's likely that the console will feature ROM versions of the games but it's also unclear if consumers will be limited to what comes on the console or if SEGA will make other ones available for download at a price. Given Nintendo's own retro mini consoles come with a set amount of games that are pre-installed onto the system with no ability to load more, SEGA may follow the same path, though it could differentiate itself by allowing consumers to install more games if they choose to.