From Sega Retro

This is an unaltered copy of a press release, for use as a primary source on Sega Retro. Please do not edit the contents below.
Language: English
Original source: (archived)


    LOS ANGELES, May 16, 1996 -- The surf's up and Sega Saturn is riding the online wave as the first Internet-ready next generation videogame console. Sega of America today debuted Sega Saturn Net Link , a new modem and browser peripheral for the Sega Saturn bringing the Internet to the television for networked gaming, electronic mail, online chats, World Wide Web connections and other cyber services.

    Sega Saturn Net Link is a 28.8 bps speed modem and custom-designed Internet browser priced at $199.99. Combined with the $199.99 Sega Saturn, the entire hardware cost is less than $400 -- well below other Internet access devices available today.

    The modem package is scheduled for release this fall. Sega also expects to offer keyboard and mouse solutions as users can fully utilize the capabilities of the Sega Saturn Net Link.

    "The Sega Saturn Net Link brings the burgeoning cyber-world into the family room, where Internet-based interactive content will add an entirely new dimension to mainstream entertainment," Tom Kalinske, president and CEO, Sega of America, said. "This product goes beyond the bounds of in- home gaming by connecting people across the country to share and enjoy new types of interactive entertainment."

    Sega developed Sega Saturn Net Link as a low-cost means for the consumer market to ride the wave of networked gaming and Internet content as interest in both continue to soar. Sega plans to offer special consumer services ranging from access to premium Web sites to customized newspapers personalized with the user's predetermined topics of interest.

    Kalinske added, "Sega is the first in the industry to offer an Internet device for under $500 which will bring the much-anticipated network gaming and Internet experiences to the mass market."

    Currently more than 12 million people utilize the Internet for work or entertainment. Analysts expect that number to top 200 million in the next four years as more entertainment- oriented services appear online. The 350,000 hits-per-day on Sega's web site indicate a strong interest in videogames among Internet users.

    In support of Sega Saturn Net Link, Sega is heavily allocating resources toward producing multiplayer, networked and live Internet-based interactive entertainment. Sega has five Sega Saturn Net Link compatible games in development, and "Baku Baku " for network play later this year. In addition, Accolade, Interplay, GT Interactive, Virgin Interactive Entertainment and Westwood Studios will deliver at least 10 Sega Saturn Net Link compatible games by Christmas '96.

    The Sega Saturn Net Link modem plugs into the cartridge slot on the Sega Saturn, providing an online connection to the Internet. Included with the modem is CD-based, HTML 2.0 compatible web browser software developed specifically for the NTSC TV display standard and offering a similar feature-set to Netscape 1.1 and other popular browsers currently in use.

    With its three dedicated 32-bit processors, the Sega Saturn is more powerful than over half of the PCs used for Internet access today.

    "By utilizing the Sega Saturn graphics capabilities, the Net Link browser performance is the same as browsers running on PCs," Kerry Bradford, general manager, Sega Online, said. "New customized features, including a virtual keyboard and a space magnifying function allow for ease of use and enhanced visibility on the television screen."

    The browser's on-screen keyboard is a point-and-click interface that also incorporates pre-determined grouped letters, such as "http://" and ".com" that can be accessed and activated using the Sega Saturn control pad, a mouse or a keyboard.

    Sega has entered into an agreement with Excite, Inc. to jointly develop custom search and directory services. Excite's proprietary web-navigation technology supports all of the ways consumers look for information -- including researching, browsing, exploring and discovering -- not just searching. Based in Mountain View, CA, Excite, Inc. is a leading branded media service for daily interaction among consumers, content providers and advertisers on the World Wide Web.

    Sega has contracted with Concentric Network Corporation as its preferred Internet access provider for Sega Saturn Net Link. Sega will offer one month of free service for new Sega Saturn Net Link users; subsequent standard monthly charges will start at $19.95 for basic service. Concentric, based in Cupertino, Calif., was rated No. 1 in Internet access reliability in a recent c/net survey. Internet users who already have an access provider can utilize Sega Saturn Net Link through their existing account.