Summer is on its way, which in the gaming world usually means a rather dry period with few big-name releases. While it also means E3 and the chance for gamers to prepare for the rush of A-list titles for the end of the year, it still means a lot of waiting without much to play. Fortunately, Sega has decided to follow through on their promise of releasing some of their classic games for download beginning this week.

On May 22nd, the PlayStation Network will have the following available for download: the original arcade port of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Monster World IV, the original arcade version of Super Hang-On, Revenge of Shinobi, and Alex Kidd in Miracle World. All of these games will be priced at $4.99, and can provide an interesting look at Sega’s early history. Particularly Alex Kidd, which was originally slated to be Sega‘s star franchise before the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Meanwhile, on May 23rd, Xbox Live Arcade will have the above titles condensed into separate packages for easy download. The first three titles will be packaged as the Monster World Collection, while the other three will be bundled together as the Alex Kidd and Co. Collection. Both packages will be priced at 800 Microsoft Points.

On May 30th two more collections will appear on Xbox Live. The first will be the Golden Axe Collection, containing the original arcade version of the first Golden Axe and the Genesis sequels. Next comes the Streets of Rage Collection, which will have all three of the Sega Genesis titles. Both series are famous Genesis franchises and are excellent side-scrolling beat-em-ups: well worth a player’s 800 Microsoft Points.

This seems like a good move on Sega’s part, especially after the rather heavy financial hits they’ve taken. A solid number of downloads could be enough to help them get back in the game again, and is something Sega is obviously counting on. However, this could come off as the company relying a little too much on nostalgia, as a number of these titles – particularly the collections coming at the end of the month on XBLA – were released during the height of Sega’s popularity. Still, nostalgia has proven to be a viable and profitable market, so it really depends on perspective.

Will you be buying any of these games upon their release? What do you think this could mean for Sega‘s financial status?

Source: Sega, Joystiq

tags: PS3, PSN, Sega, Xbox Live