Game Makers Unite for Super Console Project

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Sony Corp. officials said yesterday that they have joined forces with rival video game makers Sega Corp. and Namco Ltd. to build an advanced version of the company's popular PlayStation2 game.

The console will be developed by Sony's game unit, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., and is to be released on a limited scale in Japan by year's end. Sony executives said they hope to have the game available worldwide by 2002.

The new game is expected to carry several enhancements over the one the company marketed last year. Among the expected changes is the attachment of monitors and video cameras to a high-speed network that will allow players in different game centers to connect.

"This alliance represents our desire to quickly establish nationwide broadband businesses before households are wired for faster Internet service," said SCE president Ken Kutaragi.

SCE officials declined to disclose total developmental cost for the project as well as the breakdown of how the bills for it would be allocated.

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