Sega launches new community site

House of Sonic opens Sega Link, an online arcade that also functions as a social-networking site.

TOKYO--Sega announced today that it has launched its new community-based online game site in Japan named Sega Link. While the site's main content is games, it also lets users create their own blogs and photo albums, chat with other users, and invite other friends to use the site's services, which is similar to social-networking sites. Sega Link also features other services, like online fortune telling and free streaming trailers of Sega's upcoming games.

Sega Link's main content features a huge library that ranges from board games to the latest online ones. It's split into three categories: Simple Games, Sega Classic, and Link Collection.

As the name implies, Simple Games are board and card games that users can play with one another for free, such as blackjack, backgammon, mahjong, and baccarat.

The Sega Classic section features Windows ports of classic Genesis games, such as Columns, Phantasy Star III, and Golden Axe. Twenty games are currently available, and the section is expected to grow to more than 100 in the future. Each one costs 120 yen ($1.12) to play for 24 hours.

The Link Collection lets users enjoy a number of more-recent online-enabled games that have been released for Windows. Five are currently offered, including The Typing of the Dead 2004, Virtua Fighter 2, Virtual On, Derby Owner's Club Online, and Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst. The games cost from 210 yen ($1.96) to 240 yen ($2.23) to play.

To enjoy the games and other services available in Sega Link, users will have first have to register. Services that require money can by enjoyed by purchasing electronic cash called "Sega Cash," which is offered in increments of 1,000 yen ($9.32) and 10,000 yen ($932).

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