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Appeared on: Tuesday, June 05, 2001
Sega and Sony to Link Game Consoles Via Internet

Japanese game maker Sega and Sony 's game unit plan to enable users of their consoles to play video games via the Internet.

The move, letting Sega's Dreamcast console connect with Sony Computer Entertainment's (SCE) PlayStation 2 -- the industry's first cross-console networking -- is aimed at expanding the online gaming market, a Sega spokesman said on Tuesday. The announcement came as little surprise to the share market as the firms, once rivals in a game hardware battle, said in January they would collaborate in online game applications and services.

Sega, in the midst of dramatic transformation to a game software maker after pulling the plug on its loss-making game hardware business, plans to release a new version of its popular online game software series in August for Dreamcast. This will be followed by the release of the same titles for PlayStation 2 and personal computers.

The discontinued Dreamcast console, launched in 1999, was the first advanced game system offering realistic graphics and online play, and has attracted around 800,000 online members, nearly 30 percent of the total Dreamcast users in Japan. Sega, known for its ``Sonic The Hedgehog'' game character, is also discussing similar deals with Nintendo and Microsoft both of which are ramping up for the release of new high-powered game boxes later this year, the spokesman said. The agreement is also part of Sony's groundwork for an online strategy, with the aim of making the PlayStation 2 a home entertainment center rather than just a game machine.

Sony, the market-share leader with its PlayStation series, envisages its consoles becoming all-in-one consumer entertainment systems, complete with the ability to play movies and music and to browse the Web.


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