Update: A Nintendo spokesperson explained the decision to release the three-button Sega Genesis controller in North America instead of the six-button controller. “For the U.S. and Canada, a replica of the original SEGA Genesis controller is the available model. This was by far the more widely used and well-known Sega Genesis controller in these regions.”
The original story continues below.
The six-button version of the wireless Sega Genesis controller for Nintendo Switch will seemingly only launch in Japan, while fans in the west will have to settle for a three-button option.
As part of last night’s Nintendo Direct, it was announced that a range of Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games will be coming to Switch Online as part of a new membership expansion pack. Alongside its new service, Nintendo also announced that it would be launching new (or perhaps old) wireless Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis controllers, as shown in the tweet below.
Relive the glory days with authentic Nintendo 64 and SEGA Genesis wireless controllers. Both will be available for purchase for $49.99 each to any #NintendoSwitchOnline members. Stay tuned for more information to come. pic.twitter.com/MENafDLLRs
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 23, 2021
However, it appears that fans will get their hands on different versions of the controller depending upon which region they purchase it in. While the western Direct showed the 3-button variant of the Genesis controller, a Japanese advert for it clearly shows its six-button counterpart.
If the controllers are indeed different in different regions, it’s a slightly odd choice from Nintendo. The Genesis (known as the Mega Drive in regions outside North America) launched with a three-button controller, but later introduced a six-button version internationally, not just in Japan. IGN has reached out to Nintendo for comment but as of yet has not received a response.
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) September 23, 2021
This isn’t the first time that customers in the US and Europe have been shortchanged in the button game. Back in 2019, the release of the Sega Genesis mini produced a similar tale. The all-in-one retro console shipped with a pair of six-button controllers in the box while customers in the west were stuck with its three-button equivalent – leading a number of fans to seek out third-party alternatives.
Sega’s iconic Genesis controller is set to sell for a suggested retail price of $49.99 when it’s released later this year. With it looking likely that fans in the west will only be able to pick up a three-button version of the controller, then many players might be tempted to once again turn toward third-party alternatives such as 8bitdo’s wireless M30 retro controller.
If you’re looking to catch up on last night’s Nintendo Direct, make sure to check out our comprehensive guide to everything that was announced at the event.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.