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Gateway enters "EverQuest" world

The PC maker announces a partnership with Sony Online Entertainment and chipmaker Intel to sell PCs optimized for the Sony online game "EverQuest."

Gateway has found a new ally in its quest to convince consumers to upgrade their PCs: a half-man, half-tiger beast that wields a mean sword.

The struggling PC maker announced Tuesday a partnership with Sony Online Entertainment and chipmaker Intel to sell PCs optimized for the Sony online game "EverQuest."

Under the promotion, customers who buy a Gateway PC with an Intel Pentium 4 processor and one of two versions of packaged "EverQuest" software will receive several months of free access to the game's online service. "EverQuest" players pay monthly subscription fees of about $10 to access the game's online world.

The promotion makes more than marketing sense, as the newest version of the fantasy role-playing game is one of the most resource-intensive pieces of commercial software yet released.

For "EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin" to run at its peak performance, Sony recommends a PC with at least 512MB of memory, a Pentium III chip and a graphics card with 32MB of memory. To reach those standards, Gateway customers must pay more than $1,000 for a custom-configured PC.

"With technologies continuing to expand and gamers demanding more out of their computer systems, we have teamed up with two leaders in the computer industry to deliver a system that answers all of these demands and more," said Scott McDaniel, vice president of marketing for Sony Online Entertainment.

"EverQuest" is considered one of the most successful online games to date, with more than 400,000 paying subscribers currently enrolled.