Sega.com Launches the World’s First Online Console Gaming Network, SegaNet

Awards and a New Ad Campaign to Leverage the Growing Online Gaming Industry 

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SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 7, 2000 Sega.com(TM) (www.sega.com), an independent online interactive entertainment company for gamers, announced today the launch of the highly-anticipated SegaNet(TM) (www.sega.net), the world’s only high-speed online console and PC gaming network and ISP. Built specifically for gamers, SegaNet is the online destination and gamers’ community, providing the best in online chat, 3D multiplayer gaming, exclusive contests, codes, content, and PC online game servers. Sega(R) is also celebrating the one year anniversary of Sega Dreamcast(TM), the launch of a new ad campaign and the second annual sponsorship of the MTV Video Music Awards. 

“The future of gaming is online and only SegaNet can take gamers there,” said Brad Huang, president, and CEO, Sega.com. “SegaNet is building the first online console gaming network for gamers across the country and has permanently changed the face of the gaming industry.” 

IDC Research estimates the total value of the online gaming market and related e-commerce to reach between $1 and $2 billion in the next few years. According to Forrester Research, 24% of video game revenue will come from online gameplay by 2002. Sega is leveraging this enormous growth opportunity by pioneering the online console gaming industry with the first-ever high-speed dedicated gaming network on the Internet. With the launch of SegaNet, Sega is ahead of the competition by 18 to 24 months.

In August, Sega.com launched an exclusive beta test program, inviting consumers to test-out SegaNet before anyone else. Feedback from the beta testers came back overwhelmingly positive. Dazzled by the graphics and the depth of gameplay, most beta testers were unable to tell that they were playing over the Internet. Built from the ground up, SegaNet delivers consistent gameplay and low latency over analog phone lines because all parts of the network have been optimized by Sega.com. 

On September 7th, SegaNet will feature online versions of top-ranked games including the popular “Sega Sports(TM) NFL 2K1” on the Sega Dreamcast and more than a dozen PC online game servers. More Dreamcast and PC games will be added frequently throughout the remainder of the year, and approximately two dozen by holiday 2000. SegaNet offers gamers 3D multiplayer games, chat, community, cheat codes, tournaments, and content. With a membership-based model beginning at $21.95, SegaNet is also an ISP service for Sega Dreamcast and PC users, offering gamers the best in speed, consistent low latency, customer service and access to all other areas of the web, including personal e-mail (name@sega.net). The membership model provides latitude for the best possible experience for consumers and a clear path to profitability for the company. Additionally, SegaNet will provide gamers with content on complementary areas of interest, including music, sports, and e-commerce. 

“SegaNet provides gamers with the most awesome gaming experience available,” said Lynn MacConnell, chief technology officer, Sega.com. “We have created a high-speed network that delivers the highest quality gaming experience with low latency — and all over a 56K modem. With awesome games like ‘NFL 2K1’ available, friends old and new can battle each other online.” 

Dreamcast new price of $149 

To increase early adoption of SegaNet, Sega is minimizing all possible obstacles to entrance for its new online network. On August 31st, the company announced that they would set the price of the popular 128-bit Sega Dreamcast system to $149. In addition, gamers can choose to sign up for the ISP for 18 months and receive a rebate of $150 – the price of the Sega Dreamcast system, plus a free Dreamcast keyboard. Additionally, Sega is giving away 50 free hours of SegaNet service with all Sega Dreamcasts purchased since its launch last year. The new price effectively lowers the barriers to obtaining the hardware and the rebate program and 50 free hours make it easier for consumers to get online using their Sega Dreamcast. 

New Ad Campaign at MTV Video Music Awards 

A new ad campaign will help introduce SegaNet to the millions of gamers across the country. The ad campaign, which debuts tonight at the MTV Video Music Awards to an audience of more than 20 million, marks the return of the Sega Scream and challenges gamers to begin battling each other over the Internet. To celebrate the history-making launch of the Sega Dreamcast, which grossed over $97 million in hardware, software and peripherals in 24 hours, Sega sponsored the MTV Video Music Awards for the second consecutive year and chose to launch its new ad campaign during the ceremonies. 

Simultaneous, Bi-Coastal Launch Events 

Additionally, Sega incorporated its core audience – gamers – into the launch festivities, holding simultaneous launch events at Studio 54 in New York and Club NV in San Francisco. Gathering hundreds of Sega fans, press and retailers the events feature guest appearances by Sega icons Ulala and Sonic the Hedgehog(TM) and combine a live broadcast of the MTV Video Music Awards with music, food and entertainment to keep Sega enthusiasts going all night. Re-broadcasts of the events will be available at www.sega.net. 

About Sega.com and SegaNet 

Sega.com, Inc. (www.sega.com) is an online entertainment company that integrates Internet technology and innovation with over 40 years of experience in the video game industry. Sega.com also built SegaNet (www.sega.net), the only high-speed online console gaming network and community destination for gamers that provides Dreamcast users with the ultimate in speed, reliability and content. SegaNet offers both Dreamcast and PC gamers the best in 3D multi-player games, chat, community, cheat codes, tournaments and content. SegaNet is also a full service ISP offering gamers everything they need to know about gaming and other areas of interest including music, TV, community, movies, sports and e-commerce. SegaNet is the one stop destination for online games and gaming related content, offering gamers a community built specifically with them in mind. 

About Sega Dreamcast 

The 128-bit Internet-ready Sega Dreamcast is available in the US with a built-in 56K modem, allowing for full Internet functionality via SegaNet, the only high-speed online console gaming network and ISP service for Dreamcast and PC users. Dreamcast currently has over 100 titles available. The total Dreamcast game library count will be more than 200 by December 2000. 

About Sega 

Sega of America Dreamcast Inc. is the American arm of Tokyo, Japan-based Sega Enterprises, Ltd. responsible for the development, marketing and distribution of Sega videogame systems and video games in the Americas. Sega Enterprises, Ltd. is a nearly $2.5 billion company recognized as the industry leader in interactive digital entertainment media, offering interactive entertainment experiences both inside and outside the home. Sega of America’s World Wide Web site is located at www.sega.com.

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