News in brief

Sega set to start giving it away at
May 1, 2000

Sega set to start giving it away at

Sega is forming a new company, The new on-line subscription based company is setting itself the tall order of becoming gamers’ number one Internet destination. The site will offer SegaNet, billed as the only high-speed Internet game network, offering multiplayer 3-D games, cheats, tourneys and the usual chat functions. SegaNet ISP launches in the U.S. in September, with four games available, including NFL 2K1 and Quake III; there will be 12 titles available by Christmas 2000. The subscription costs US$21.95 per month and if gamers subscribe to SegaNet for a two year minimum, they also get a killer rebate offer. Current Dreamcast owners will get a US$200 cheque and a free keyboard. PC users will get a free Dreamcast and keyboard after signing up for SegaNet.

Mattel drops The Learning Company

Mattel is throwing back TLC, less than a year after buying it. The software co has been losing money to the tune of US$105 million, not adding the hoped for US$50 million it was supposed to contribute to the Mattel toy chest, so Mattel is putting it up for sale.

Lego gets smart with Zowie

Lego bought California-based Zowie Intertainment for an undisclosed sum. Lego will incorporate Zowie’s sensing and recognition technology to produce smart toys scheduled to ship in 2001. Zowie-powered product currently on shelves include digital playsets Ellie’s Enchanted Garden and Redbeard’s Pirate Quest.

Millimages goes interactive

French animation production company Millimages, whose TV productions range from preschool international series such as Archibald the Koala, to feature films like Carnivale and stop-motion animation (several projects are currently in development), now turns to Web production. It has just opened a division headed by Serge Ewenczyk, former deputy general delegate at distribution association TVFI, to produce teen and adult programs, either series or games, for Web sites. Each series will be comprised of at least 50 episodes ranging in length from twenty seconds to two-minutes.

Millimages will also produce programs adapted from its series and dedicated to the broadcasters Web sites. Twelve original series are currently in development, some with international partners like Ireland’s Magma Films and HappyLife of Sweden.

Hasbro Interactive is feuding with Pearson

The Beverly, Massachusetts-based gameco inked a deal with U.K.-based Pearson Television to develop interactive titles based on the TV game show Family Feud. Designed for PCs and Sony PlayStation, the first title, Family Feud, is scheduled to ship in September for US$29.99. The game, for ages eight and up, also features TV host Louie Anderson.

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