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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK

Business: The Company File

Sega plans online link with AT&T

Sega's Dreamcast games console is due for launch

Sega Enterprises has confirmed it is in talks with AT&T concerning Internet access and online services.

A spokesman at the Japanese firm said: "It is true that we are in negotiations, but I can't comment further on this."

A news report in Japan on Wednesday said Sega and AT&T had agreed to a tie-up which would link Sega's Dreamcast home video game machine with AT&T's US cable network via the Internet.

Sega will start selling its Dreamcast games console in North America on 9 September.

Sega's share price surged on the news, rising 304 yen, or 17.1%, to 2,085 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Sega's Dreamcast can be hooked up to the Internet so users can play video games with remote users and download new games software.

The company spokesman declined to give details, but the Sankei Shimbun daily said Sega was looking to use AT&T's cable television network for Internet connections.

In Europe, Sega has already chosen BT as a main supplier of the Internet access service for Dreamcast users.

The 128-bit Dreamcast, the most powerful video game console currently on the market, will go on sale in Europe on 23 September.

"We have received more than 200,000 advance orders so far in the US for the Dreamcast and this is by far the largest number of advance orders for a video game console made by any company," the Sega spokesman said.

Sega launched the Dreamcast last November as it attempted to win back market share from Sony's dominant PlayStation. Sony will release its PlayStation II in Japan later this year to fight back.

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