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Sega isn't playing around with SegaNet
(IDG) -- Amid bids for the home-gaming market from Microsoft, with its plans for the X-Box Console, and Sony, preparing to release its popular PlayStation2 in the U.S., Sega launched SegaNet, an online console, PC gaming network and ISP, on Thursday.
SegaNet allows Dreamcast owners to play Sega Sports NFL 2K1 and ChuChu Rocket online. PC gamers can choose from nine retail games that they must own in order to play online, including Quake 2, Quake 3 and Kingpin. The site also offers PC gamers the opportunity to try out three games for free, according to information on the company's Web site. Sega plans to have about two dozen Dreamcast and PC games online by the end of the year.
As an ISP for Dreamcast and PC users, SegaNet offers service via a 56Kbps modem starting at $21.95, Sega said in a statement.
The 128-bit Dreamcast console, with a built-in 56Kbps modem, is priced at $149, with the goal of pushing early adoption of SegaNet in the U.S. If gamers sign up for the ISP for 18 months, they receive a rebate of $150 and a free Dreamcast keyboard. Sega also is offering 50 free hours of SegaNet service with all Dreamcasts that were purchased since its launch, according to the company.
The ISP provides online chat, 3D multiplayer gaming, personal e-mail, contests and cheat codes for gamers, in addition to a PC games server.
In its announcement, Sega cited IDC research, which said the total value of the online gaming market and related e-commerce will range from $1 billion to $2 billion in the next few years. Sega also noted figures from Forrester Research, which said 24 percent of video-game revenue will come from online game play by 2002.
On the heels of SegaNet's release, Infogrames Entertainment, based in Lyon, France, said in a statement Thursday that it will bring the game Unreal Tournament to Dreamcast later this year and optimize the game's features for SegaNet.
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