RealTime IT News

Sega.com to Have Family Appeal

While Sony is scrambling to put together enough PlayStation 2s to satiate hungry gamers and Microsoft is developing new titles for the same crowd, Sega.com is looking to bolster its services in a different realm: family entertainment.

As an indication that the PC gaming and console leader has faced serious affronts to its Dreamcast videogame console customer base with its aforementioned rivals' latest efforts, Sega.com showed it plans to become a broader PC gaming supplier Wednesday when it grabbed FamilyWonder Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Sega.com claims it bought the family entertainment media company, which helps families decide "what to do" and "what to buy," in the hopes of drawing its customer base as part of its new audience focus.

FamilyWonder Founder and Chairman (and media dynamo) Jonathan Kaplan will assume the role of president and chief executive officer of Sega.com.

Kaplan will be responsible for Sega.com's online console and PC gaming businesses in North America, including all business development, marketing, sales and operations. Renowned for his contributions to such Conde Nast publications as Vogue, GQ and Glamour, Kaplan will work with Sega of America's President and COO Peter Moore to lure more gamers to Sega.com.

Sega.com pegs itself as a "new online entertainment company whose goal is to become the online destination for gamers."

Launched in September, Sega.com has signed more than 157,000 members to SegaNet® which doubles as an online console gaming network and ISP, putting itself in position to balloon to more than 68 million gamers by 2003, according to Jupiter Communications Inc.

SegaNet offers gamers 3D multi-player games, chat, community, cheat codes, tournaments and content. SegaNet is also an ISP for Sega Dreamcast and PC users, offering gamers the ins and outs of gaming.

And though users are already ooing and ahhing about Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft, which tries to get a hand in almost anything that has to do with online technology, has yet to launch it's own online gaming attack.

With its acquisition of numerous titles, Microsoft had also touted itself as a leading player in online PC games, but is also now focusing on delivering users its greatly-anticipated console, Xbox in Spring 2001.

The software giant has been acquiring gaming developers at a frenetic pace, including Tuesday's purchase of Digital Anvil.