Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the release of the Sega Dreamcast, today Sega.com launched the Dreamcast's online gaming network, SegaNet. Built specifically for online gameplay, SegaNet allows users to play 3D multiplayer games, chat, find codes, send e-mail, or browse the Internet and offers game players a community built specifically with them in mind.
"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."
As was previously reported by GameSpot News, to encourage consumers to give SegaNet a try, the price of the Dreamcast console has been dropped to US$149. Those who sign up for 18 months of SegaNet service at $21.95 per month will receive a rebate for the entire $149 Dreamcast purchase price and a free Dreamcast keyboard. Those who have purchased a Dreamcast console previously will be awarded with 50 free hours on SegaNet to try out the service. PC owners may also use SegaNet as their ISP service, as the network has been designed from the ground up to provide low latency for online gameplay or Internet browsing.
"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."
Sega of America is launching a new advertising campaign tonight during the MTV Video Music Awards. The Sega scream from the days of the Genesis ads will return, as the new ads challenge the 20 million viewers to take on their friends and family online. Simultaneous SegaNet launch parties will be taking place tonight during the awards show in both New York City and San Francisco.
GameSpot's Ryan Mac Donald offers hands-on perspective of NFL 2K1's online component:
Copies of NFL 2K1 starting hitting stores yesterday, and some players hopped online to test the game's online gameplay feature. We waited in the "lobby" and managed to get a few games in with players from across the country.
The online interface has changed a bit since our last hands-on report of the game in that now three regional selections are possible. You can choose from East, West, and Central region selections and then pick one of the dozen or so specific city servers within. Two of the cities available on the West Coast are San Francisco and Los Angeles.
From one of the lobbies, you can read what other players are chatting about. The comments and questions going back and forth mostly focused on what Internet service provider people had, if they were using SegaNet, and whether or not the online play was too laggy. SegaNet users commented on both ends of the spectrum - some said that they experienced too much latency, while others said the information transfer time was fine.
Only a handful of players appeared online on Wednesday, making it hard to find opponents who wanted to accept our challenges. Those who did take us on though varied in skill level and style. Of the games we played, some suffered from extreme latency and some saw hardly any at all. In both cases though, the game was hard to play since a second or two passes from the moment you hit a controller command and the moment when your player reacts to that command. The computer AI, however, obviously doesn't suffer from delay human players experience, so sacks, interceptions, and tackles happen more often than not due to computer-controlled opponents.
We'll be playing lots more NFL 2K1 this evening and testing out other ISPs, including SegaNet. Look for our GameSpot handle this evening around 8pm Pacific time, and when you're in the various lobbies, feel free to challenge us to a game. See you online.