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Sony Launches Online Entertainment Division

Sony Corp. of America and Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced they have joined to form Sony Online Entertainment Inc.

Sony said the new company will combine the online distribution network of Sony Online Ventures Inc. and the entertainment brands of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sony Online Entertainment will reportedly expand The Station@sony.com, a branded entertainment Internet site that claims an audience of one million registered users.

Content for the site's online games and game show entertainment will be developed and produced by third parties.

Launched last year, The Station includes online versions of the popular "JEOPARDY!" and "Wheel of Fortune" game shows. Sony said an online edition of "The Dating Game" will also make its debut later this year.

Over 24 consumer product companies advertise on The Station, including Pontiac, Sprint, and Kellogg.

"By focusing on games and game show properties, building content around existing brands, and expanding our programming--from word games and parlor games to role-playing and action/adventure games--we will continue to serve our mainstream, game-playing audience, which includes 48% women," said Mark Benerofe, senior vice president of Programming and Platform Development, in a statement.

According to Forrester Research, the online game population is expected to grow to over 15 million players by the year 2000, with online game revenues reaching $866 million.



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