The controllers will be released at the same time as the games launch, however, it appears that the type of controller available will vary between regions.
As shown in the Japanese stream of the Nintendo Direct last night (September 23, albeit on September 24 in Japan’s time), the six-button variant of the Mega Drive controller is shown, whereas it was confirmed that North America and Europe would be getting the standard three-button controller. The controllers will cost US$49.99 / £39.99.
These controllers are not required to play the Mega Drive games being added to the subscription service. The added games are however part of the new expansion pack, which includes N64 games, coming in October. The price of this expansion has yet to be confirmed.
These Nintendo 64 and SEGA Mega Drive wireless controllers will be available for all #NintendoSwitchOnline members to order soon. Follow @NintendoUK for updates on when they'll become available. pic.twitter.com/xUGG9uJDrw
— Nintendo UK (@NintendoUK) September 23, 2021
The six-button controller was first introduced for the Mega Drive in 1993 to coincide with the launch of Street Fighter II on Sega‘s console, which could still be played with the standard controller. The new controller was, at the time, less than ideal as it meant using the start button to switch buttons from punches to kicks.
This regional preference also occurred with the Mega Drive Mini, which was released with the original three-button controllers in the US and Europe, whereas the Japanese version came with the six-button controllers. It was however still possible for fans to buy a six-button controller for the retro console separately, but this doesn’t seem to be the case on the Switch.
The 14 Mega Drive games set to launch on the Switch Online service however will not make use of the six-button controller, so it won’t be an issue. It may, however, have an impact depending on what other games are added to the library in the future.
In more retro-related news, following multiple ratings ahead of its official announcement, Castlevania Advance Collection is out now on Switch.