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Sega Genesis Steam mod support spurs record sales for 16-bit classics

Sega attributes a rapid rise in digital sales this month to a recently launched Steam update that added officially sanctioned mod support for dozens of classic Mega Drive and Genesis games.

Less than a month after the launch of the Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Classics hub on Steam, Sega reports that “over 350,000 Mega Drive and Genesis titles have been purchased on Steam by fans worldwide looking to either experience this classic content for the first time, or take advantage of the all-new Steam Workshop modding support implemented with the free update.”

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The Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Classics hub, released on April 28, updates Steam’s existing library of emulated 16-bit games with a 3D front end that simulates the appearance of a Sega fan’s bedroom circa 1995. The hub displays purchased Sega Genesis Steam releases on a virtual shelf, making it easier to sort through a digital collection of supported games.

Hours after the release of the Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Classics update, fans submitted dozens of mods via Steam Workshop, retrofitting classic games like Sonic the Hedgehog with new levels, additional playable characters, and expanded gameplay features.

Steam Workshop also hosts a number of fan-made oddities, including a Sonic Boom parody that adds voice acting to the original Sonic the Hedgehog, a fishing minigame featuring Sonic Adventure star Big the Cat, and the strangely alluring (and self-descriptive) Streets of Rage 2 Except It Makes That Weird Tim Allen Noise When People Die. As of this writing, Steam Workshop now hosts nearly 400 mods for legacy Sega Genesis games.

“We’re really chuffed that the fans have got behind this update,” said Sega Europe’s director of digital distribution James Schall. “350,000 sales is a phenomenal achievement for content which is over 20 years old. It shows that there’s still a huge following out for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis, reinvigorated by the fantastic community of modders out there uploading great content.”