Was Sega the true innovator of online gaming?

Mega Man the Wily Wars

As we know online gaming has become extremely popular since the early to mid 00’s with the rise of service networks such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.  But believe it or not online game has been around since the 90’s which is something at may be hard to believe right now.  Back in December of 1994, an online gaming service known as the Sega Channel created for  North America.  The only thing about the Sega Channel was that many people in America knew nothing about it.  Around the mid 90’s people began shifting their focus to game consoles such as the Sony PlayStation which was also released in 1994.  The Sega Channel  service was provided to customers through television companies such as: Tele- Communications Inc & Time Warner and lasted for a few years before it was discontinued altogether.

However, when the Sega Channel was active during the mid 90’s it provided people with cool games including Mega Man: The Willy Wars, Eternal Champions, Space Harrier II, Sonic & Knuckles and more.   Shortly after the development of the Sega Channel we got Sega NetLink in 1996. The Sega NetLink was developed exclusively for the Sega Saturn and averaged around $200.  The fact that customers was expected to pay over $200 for networking services seemed insane especially considering the fact that the Sega Saturn averaged around $400 following its release.

phantasy-star-online.jpg

Shortly, after the release of the Netlink Sega had provided another online service for its Dreamcast console entitled the “Dreamarena” which was released in 1999.  The Dreamarena had allowed people to play games such as Phantasy Star Online and Quake III Arena which were popular during that time period.  Many people can easily argue that the concept of online gaming services such as the Dreamarena had provided Microsoft with the idea of developing Xbox Live in 2002.  When it came down to online gaming Sega was ahead of its time with the development of services such as the Sega Channel, Netlink and the Dreamarena.  Even though, a majority of Sega’s online services were not as successful as the PlayStation Network or  Xbox Live the company itself had specialized in online gaming before it became mainstream during the 00’s.

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