Sega and Nintendo have launched offensives against Sony in the next launches of their next generation consoles. generation console war that will herald the biggest battle in the sector's history.
Sega has partnered with BT and ICL to offer free internet access for Dreamcast across Europe. The console, which is due to launch on 23 September, will include a modem and browser in the £199 price range (PC Dealer, 21 April).
Jean Francois Cecillon, chief executive of Sega Europe, suggested the move was part of the vendor's evolution from a gaming company to an internet operation: 'This is a ground-breaking development for Sega and its customers.
It signals Sega's emergence as an internet network business as we enter the next millennium.'
Derek Sayers, managing director of ICL's electronic business services unit, said: 'People no longer need to buy a PC to access the Net. It is becoming available through televisions, mobile phones and now even games consoles.'
Sega is also considering selling its consoles direct over the Web in its attempt to regain the upper hand from Sony.
But Nintendo is also preparing to slap down its two rivals. It has revealed it will launch its next generation console, codenamed Dolphin, by the end of 2000. It has partnered with IBM to provide a 400MHz chip and the console will be based around a DVD drive.
Sony has steadily released details of its next generation console this year. It is due to launch in Japan by March next year and autumn 2000 in the UK.
All of the console manufacturers need successful next generation launches.
Sony's results for the year ended 31 March showed a 19.4 per cent slip in profit to Y179 billion (PC Dealer, 5 May), while Sega posted a loss of Y45 billion and turnover down to Y266 billion.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany