Sega of America will officially announce its Dreamcast Network details tomorrow, but GameSpot News has managed to uncover early details about Sega's network for your reading pleasure.
The company intends on creating the world's largest online gaming community through its partnership with AT&T. On Wednesday, Sega will announce that AT&T WorldNet will become the preferred Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the Dreamcast Network in the US and will be up and running for the Dreamcast launch on September 9. And while Dreamcast owners will be encouraged to use the AT&T WorldNet Service, it will not be mandatory - accessing the Internet through an existing ISP account can be accomplished with the Dreamcast as well.
Sega boasts that this will be the first time consumers can pop a CD into their machine and with the click of a button immediately be immersed in an interactive gaming environment with thousands of other gamers. At the US launch of the Dreamcast, AT&T will provide immediate online access, and once connected to the Internet, gamers will be sent to the Dreamcast Network.
When gamers enter the Network, some of the first options available to them will be chat rooms to discuss games, bulletin boards, and e-mail. As a part of the e-mail system, users will receive updates on games, cheats, and other information. Sega also claims that users will be able to demo certain games over their system, and that Visual Memory Unit (VMU) game data can be exchanged with others over the network.
And now the bad news, gamers won't be able to play any Dreamcast titles over the network until sometime early next year when the real-time gaming portiion of Sega's network will be up and running. Considering none of the launch titles are Internet enabled, gamers won't have much to gripe about.
The AT&T WorldNet Service for Dreamcast will offer the following monthly payment choices: an hourly price plan at US$9.95 for 10 hours of access, a standard price plan at $19.95 for 150 hours of access, or an unlimited access price plan at $21.95. If the maximum hours allotted in a specific price plan are exceeded, hourly and standard plan purchasers will be charged $.99 per hour.
Sega has also announced that AT&T WorldNet standard or unlimited plan subscribers will receive a free Sega Dreamcast keyboard although this deal may require users to sign on for a specific time frame (such as one year).