Iomega and Sega Zip it Up

Iomega's 100MB Zip drive to hit Dreamcast.

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Iomega today, as part of its Beyond PC initiative, announced plans to introduce its Zip 100MB drive as a peripheral for the Sega Dreamcast console system currently available in Japan and launching in the US this fall. The product will attach to the Dreamcast, furnishing game storage space in memory, as well as a bevy of features that will help realize Sega's plans for the system's online capabilities - specifically in storing Web information and e-mail, game updates or perhaps add-ons or patches of which PC gamers are fairly accustomed.

Console gamers in the Nintendo and PlayStation arenas are currently used to standard memory cards offering about 128k flash ROM and plenty of first and third-party memory cards by Sony, Nyko, Interact, Naki, and others with a maximum capacity of about 1MB or 2MB. However, a 100 MB Zip thrown in the mix could potentially expand the boundaries of console game saves and interactivity enormously.

One of the heftiest memory options for console gamers currently is InterAct's DexDrive for the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation - and you must own PC to make it work. The DexDrive connects to your PC, allowing you to save data from your respective memory cards onto your hard drive, to allow for more game storage than the cards alone allow. The DexDrive also offers exclusive codes and features for owners online. But the Iomega Dreamcast Zip could remove the middleman of the DexDrive in this case (and the necessity of a PC), from future console systems while taking advantage of the Dreamcast's modem and consequently, direct link to the Internet a move console gamers will also see in the PlayStation 2 and likely Nintendo's next, but as of yet unannounced system.

The collaboration on part of Sega and Iomega is an initial, public step in consumer terms towards what may be the first sign of the coming convergence of the PC and console so imminent with the Dreamcast and current PlayStation 2 specs. "Iomega is changing the home game system market with this new device," said Mike Lynch, director of Beyond PC, Iomega Corporation. "The broad familiarity of Zip drives with consumers, and our large installed base make Zip drives the perfect removable solution for beyond-PC products, such as Sega's Dreamcast game console."

Although the Iomega Dreamcast Zip will also work without the Dreamcast, Sega has plans to offer private label Dreamcast Zip100MB disks specifically for gaming. The 100 MB Zip for the Dreamcast is expected to be available with the launch of the Dreamcast in the U.S. and Europe this fall.

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