Sega NetLink

Sega NetLink
The Sega NetLink

Sega NetLink (also known as SegaNet in Japan) was an attachment for the Sega Saturn game console to provide Saturn users with internet access, a web browser, and access to email through their console. NetLink consisted of a 28.8 kbit/s modem that fits into the Sega Saturn cartridge port, although there was a cheaper version that only included the NetLink software. The unit sold for USD$199, or USD$400 bundled with a Sega Saturn.

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Product details

While the NetLink was not the first accessory to allowed console gamers in America to play games online, it was the first to allow players to use their own Internet Service Provider (ISP) to connect. While Sega recommended that players use (Concentric), NetLink enabled players to choose any ISP that was within its technical specifications. The device was capable of connecting at a 28.8 kilobit/s connection in America and 14.4 kbit/s in Japan. The success of the NetLink was limited by factors such as high cost, the small number of Saturn owners compared to the competition, and lack of games that took advantage of NetLink capabilities.

The NetLink modem was an XBAND device, which had previously been used in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis modem games. The NetLink required the use of smartcards with prepaid credits. These smartcards or "Saturn media cards" cost ¥2,000 and one game credit was ¥20, which means that one could play about 100 games per card. The Saturn had a floppy drive and printer cable converter which could be used with the NetLink. A web browser from PlanetWeb was included and a mouse and keyboard adapter were available to simplify navigation.

While the NetLink was not made available for wide release in Europe, Sega performed a test release in Finland before deciding not to widely release the unit in the European market.

Despite the Saturn's relative lack of success in America, the NetLink had a number of users, and five games were released that supported it. Sega of America originally wanted to sell 100,000 NetLinks [1] Sales records show that the unit only sold 15,000 to 25,000 units.

The Netlink Zone connected to a Internet Relay Chat server irc.sega.com which was changed to the server irc0.dreamcast.com on the release of Sega's Dreamcast. These servers were originally run by Sega employees but were given over to be run by Netlink chat users Leo Daniels and Mark Leatherman.

NetLink games can still be played today, as the NetLink modem can use direct-call to connect two players to each other, but the "NetLink Zone" method can no longer be used as the servers were shut down in 2001.

Games compatible with NetLink

See also

Notes

  1. ^ News article from cnet written before release http://news.cnet.com/Sega-catapults-to-the-Net/2100-1023_3-239291.html.

External links


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