According to an announcement partially translated by consumer game site GameSpot, Sega has launched a new online community site in Japan, named Sega Link
. Much of the site’s focus is on games, with a large collection of titles split into three main categories of simple online games, classic Sega titles and more complex online games.
This move is interesting in light of the increasing interest in playing classic games online for a fee - in particular Turner's GameTap service has announced
a Fall start date for an 'all you can eat' monthly online game service which includes a large amount of classic Sega-licensed titles.
However, it appears Sega's Japanese service has chosen smaller fees for daily rental, as opposed to a larger monthly fee, a business model that may be more suitable for Japan, where regular small fees for playing cellphone games is somewhat more common.
The 'Sega Classic' games on the Sega Link site are Windows versions of twenty different 16-bit Genesis/Mega Drive titles, including Phantasy Star III
and Golden Axe
. The games are priced at ¥120 ($1.12) for 24 hours’ play, with the site promising that the library of titles will increase to over 100 in the near future.
In addition, the 'Link Collection' section houses more complex games that can be played online against other Sega Link users. The five games currently available are Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst
, Derby Owner’s Club Online
, Virtua On
, The Typing of the Dead 2004
and Virtua Fighter 2
. These games cost between ¥210 ($1.96) and ¥240 ($2.23) to play, depending on the complexity of the title.
All the services on the site are paid for with electronic funds called Sega Cash, which are purchased online in increments of between ¥1,000 ($9.32) and ¥10,000 ($93.20). As well as games, the site also features content such as online fortune telling, photo albums, user weblogs and the opportunity to chat and interact with other Sega Link users.