Gizmodo recently reported that Sega will be releasing an official Sega Genesis emulator application. The Genesis, or Mega Drive outside of North America, is Sega's legendary 16-bit console. Sega has previously ported individual games to the app store, such as Golden Axe and Streets of Rage, with mixed results. The Genesis Ultimate collection will act as a single entry point with an in-app store, functioning essentially as a virtual console. The app is scheduled to arrive sometime in February, and is planned to be free of charge. Space Harrier 2 will come with the base app as well, and the initial list of purchasable games are as follows:
• Sonic the Hedgehog: $5.99
• Golden Axe: $4.99
• Ecco the Dolphin: $2.99
• Shining Force: $2.99
Apple is notoriously cautious when it comes to emulators, making sure that everything is properly licensed and 100% legal. Just ask Manomio, who had to comply to Apple's understandably strict regulations to release their Commodore 64 emulator, C64. As the console manufacturer and publisher of the titles in question, Sega should have a lot less of the same concerns.
What remains to be seen is how these older titles will hold-up when making the transition to iDevice, with updated virtual controls, etc. The value proposition is also something to consider, as my local Gamestop carries console and handheld versions of Sega Genesis Ultimate Collection for $19.99 new, $10 used. These versions include 40+ and 30+ of the best Genesis titles respectively, making the price of some of the initial titles look steep in comparison. You can't argue with the base price of free though, and the ability to pick and choose what you'd like to buy. I'd be interested in some gems like Ristar or Streets of Rage 2 myself, Altered Beast definitely not!