Sega.com, the multiplayer gaming arm of publisher/developer Sega, has signed network middleware agreements with both Sony and Nintendo which will see the company providing technologies and services related to online gaming to developers on both PS2 and GameCube.
The core product covered by the deal is called Sega Network Application Package (SNAP), a group of technologies which is designed to provide a complete end-to-end solution for network multiplayer. Perhaps most interestingly, SNAP works in exactly the same way on all platforms – opening up the possibility of cross-platform multiplayer games.
The product is quite comprehensive, offering everything from networking technology to advanced community management features such as billing, user authentication and tournaments. Sega.com is also positioned to provide a range of services for networked games, including server hosting, billing, consulting and quality assurance.
SEGA is the undisputed pioneer in online console gaming, and Sega.com helped make it possible by creating and supporting the technology backbone, according to Sega.com CEO Ryoichi Shiratsuchi. From building the first high-speed online console gaming network to offering Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 developers a solution for implementing a network gaming environment with SNAP, Sega.com is truly committed to the future of the video game industry – online gaming.
The move into network middleware is a logical one for Sega.com, but it will face significant competition in the burgeoning market, with several players in the USA and Europe also vying for business in this sector.