Internet

Excite@Home to play with Sega Dreamcast

The two companies announce a partnership that blends the portal company's Web content with Sega's interactive gaming site.

Excite@Home and Sega of America today announced a partnership that blends the portal company's Web content with Sega's interactive gaming site.

As reported earlier by CNET News.com, Excite said it will help produce Sega's Dreamcast Network, an Internet gaming portal developed in conjunction with Sega's hugely popular Dreamcast console, according to the two companies.

Financial terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Excite will be the exclusive portal partner for the Sega Dreamcast Network, the two companies said in a statement. Now, Dreamcast users, who use the video game console to access the Web through the Sega Dreamcast Network, will find Excite-produced content and personalization features, such as Excite Mail and stock quotes. Eventually, the companies said, Excite will produce an interface for a Dreamcast TV-based Web browser.

Besides being a video game player, Dreamcast lets users access the Internet through a built-in 56-kbps modem; preferred ISP service is delivered via AT&T WorldNet. Sega has sold more than 1 million Dreamcast consoles in North America since it launched in September.

Sega launched Dreamcast in the United States on Sept. 9. The company said in a statement that it reached the 1 million sales mark faster than other "retail sales phenomenon, such as Tickle Me Elmo and the Sony PlayStation." CNET's complete Dreamcast guide According to Excite, the partnership is the latest in the Redwood City, Calif., company's attempts to distribute its service through non-PC devices, and it follows a deal to provide content for AT&T's PocketNet wireless Internet service.

"This deal again reinforces our leadership in providing a consistent user experience over multiple devices and our ability to re-format our content for different media," Mark Stevens, executive vice president of corporate and business development at Excite@Home, Excite's parent company, said in a statement.

Excite also joins some of its competitors in signing deals to bring online video games to their users. Internet giant America Online gave Electronic Arts exclusive control over gaming on all AOL-owned services for $81 million, and rival Lycos recently acquired Gamesville.com for $203 million in stock

As for Excite and Sega, during the span of the multi-year deal, users who visit the Sega Dreamcast Network will see increasingly more Excite-branded content and will be able to personalize their Sega Dreamcast Network front page using Excite@Home's personalization tools, the companies said.