Sega Enterprises last week unveiled plans to start building their own networks for online gaming and videoconferencing starting with cabling projects in the US, Europe and Japan.
The network will run over the Internet and will let users play games, such as auto racing and fighting games, via Sega's new Dreamcast video game consoles, said Hiroyuki Mori, a spokesman at the Tokyo-based company.
Sega, along with its parent company CSK Corp, plans to invest about 10 billion yen in the project, he said. "The network will allow for videoconferencing and voice communications, but the basis of it will be gaming," said Mori. Sega will sell microphone and video camera attachments for the Dreamcast to allow voice and image data to be sent over the network, he said.
Sega will use technologies from Mpath Interactive of the US to allow as many as 200,000 users to access the network simultaneously.
Shipping in Japan since last November, Dreamcast is a video console that lets multiple users, connected by a network, play against each other. The machine will hit US and Australian stores in September.
The company said that it expects 20 to 30 per cent of Dreamcast users to sign up for the service. Sega expects to sell about four million Dreamcast game consoles by the end of March 2000.