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Monday, March 30, 1998 Published at 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK


Sony focus on Internet games

Electronics giant Sony is setting up a unit focused solely on Internet entertainment projects.

The new subsidiary, Sony Online Entertainment Inc, will bring together parts of two Sony business units in the United States - Sony Online Ventures Inc and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

A spokesman said the development would sharpen the focus of Sony's one-year-old online network, The Station.

Game shows already running on The Station include Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Visitors to the site are asked to complete demographic questionnaires at registration, which are used to help target advertising.

Executive Vice President Richard Glosser said the game format offered an ideal platform for advertising, because like television, it has breaks between rounds that can be filled with advertising.

The Station has around one million members, around half of them aged between 18 and 34 - a typical Internet audience.

However, nearly half of them are female, a population often under-represented on the Internet.

Eventually, Sony plans to add new games and begin charging user fees for premium games.

Multi-player versions of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, potentially with user fees, are also said to be in the pipeline.


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