This ended up being a little longer than I expected. I suppose the short version of what I'm asking is "How long until it makes sense to release another collection?"
To date, there have been five series-specific compilation releases:
- Mega Man Anniversary Collection
- Mega Man X Collection
- Mega Man Zero Collection
- Rockman Dash 1 and 2 (Japan Only)
- Rockman Collection (1-6 and X7) (Japan Only)
Many of the games have never been released in a compilation. Specifically, oddities like Rockman and Forte, The Wily Wars, Mega Man Soccer, and the entire EXE/SF series have yet to appear in a collected format.
Currently, Capcom has been steadily releasing the series on Virtual Console and PSN, with the Wii getting 1-5 NES and X SNES, and the PS3/PSP getting the Complete Works imports. These have been slow releases, with maybe one or two a year. None of the side-games have seen a digital release.
From a business standpoint, Capcom is making the right decision. In my opinion, Sega has devalued their product by repeatedly flooding the market with collections of the same games. Releasing one game at a time ensures sales for each title.
I'm worried that we may never see a truly comprehensive collection. My dream is to have every release collected in one package, including regional variants and enhanced ports, sorted by series entry. That would mean including Rockman, Mega Man, and Rockman Complete Works, as well as X3 SNES alongside X3 PSX. X3-6 PSX would include the English localized versions as well as the originals with the vocal OP/ED music intact. A single-layer BD-ROM disc would easily hold everything. The problem is that it's not commercially viable yet. I wish it were, because I'm not really satisfied with the accuracy of the Anniversary Collection ports. Instead, we're getting the individual digital releases.
There is still a long period ahead in which the slow trickle of digital releases can continue. There are even several new markets that they haven't touched yet, including Steam, Games for Windows Marketplace, the Mac App Store, Windows Phone 7/8, Android, Linux, OnLive, Xbox Live Arcade, and modern web browsers. It's entirely possible that you will buy Mega Man 2 on two or more additional platforms before another compilation is released.
Does anyone else see what I'm getting at? Those collections we got in the last console generation will likely be the only collections for yet some time. The property is valuable enough that it still makes sense to sell the games individually. Nintendo seems to know this as well. Square Enix is playing a similar game with their continuously enhanced re-releases.
What I'd like to know is when everyone thinks it would be appropriate to begin expecting a new compilation. The current digital re-release schedule should put TOS and X available on PSN and VC within 3 years, but I'd assume they would restart it on a new platform sometime before then. They're also experimenting with iOS "enhanced remakes," but if the recent attempt at X is any indication, it's a terrible idea. I think it's entirely possible that the next compilation is a decade away, but I'd love to be wrong.
Anyone else care to weigh in on this?