Sega offers free game consoles for Net subscribers

Kyodo

Sega of America Inc., the U.S. arm of Tokyo-based Sega Enterprises Ltd., will give away Dreamcast video-game consoles to subscribers to its Internet access service, which will be launched shortly in the United States, company sources said Monday.

From August, anyone who signs up for the Sega.com Internet access service and agrees to pay $21.95 per month for the service for the following two years will receive a free Dreamcast console, currently retailing in the U.S. for $199, the sources said.

For those who already own a Dreamcast console, the company will give away a keyboard and a check for $200, the sources said.

The sales promotion plan will be announced formally Tuesday, they added.

Sega apparently aims to use the campaign to expand its share of the U.S. game machine market, where competition is expected to heat up with the launch of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation2 later this year and Microsoft Corp.’s X-box next year.

Giving away personal computers or discounts of around $400 are common in the U.S. for new customers of Internet-access services.

Nintendo delays launch

OSAKA — Due to a shortage of related parts, Nintendo Co. will put off until fall the release of a special adapter that enables users of its Game Boy portable game console to play online with a cellular phone, a company official said Tuesday.

Nintendo had initially planned to release the adapter this month as a first step toward expanding into the online portable game console market.

The official also attributed the postponement to the fact that demand for the Game Boy itself was outpacing supply.

The release of a new version of the popular Pocket Monster game software is also expected to be delayed until fall, the official said.

In March, Nintendo Co. announced plans to postpone the release of its next-generation video game console in the United States and Europe until the first half of 2001 instead of December as originally scheduled.