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Japanese Gamers Get Connected

Sony Corp., Sega Corp., and NTT DoCoMo Inc. have been busy making deals that will enhance gamers experiences. In the near future, networked arcade games and mobile phone gamers will be hitting Japan.

Sony revealed plans on Wednesday to work with Sega to build a version of its Playstation 2 for Sega's arcade properties in Japan. Last month Sega announced its plans to discontinue production of its Dreamcast and focus on software development for its then rival, Sony Playstation. Sega owns and operates video game arcades throughout Japan.

According to reports, the new Sony consoles will be connected via broadband to other units and other arcades and should be in a trial run by year-end 2002.

"This alliance represents our desire to quickly establish nationwide broadband businesses before households are wired for faster Internet access,'' said Ken Kutaragi, president of SCE, in a new conference as quoted by Reuters.

"We will try to provide exciting interactive services ... not only games, but also something like downloading videos or doing electronic shopping.''

Sega and NTT DoCoMo announced on Wednesday an agreement to integrate NTT DoCoMo's i-mode phone and video arcade game machines equipped with Sega's "NAOMI" arcade board. According to a release, the service will fuse video arcade game machines, i-mode phones and home video game consoles.

Last summer Sony and NTT DoCoMo announced intentions of linking NTT DoCoMo't i-mode mobile phone service with Sony Playstations. This week Sony announced they would begin selling a cable that would connect i-mode phones to the Playstation consoles, allowing customers to view i-mode accessed Web pages on a TV screen through the consoles. The cables are set to hit the shelves at the end of March.

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