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SEGA Does Massive Multiplayer... Sort of

Posted Jan 25, 2010 by Jon Wood

SEGA Does Massive Multiplayer... Sort of Free Zone columnist Richard Aihoshi uses his column this week to talk about SEGA's forray into the online poker world and what they may mean to the ever-growing segment of that online gaming market.

Richard Aihoshi

Last week saw a potentially very interesting development in the extended massively multiplayer space when SEGAGames, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company we associate with familiar IPs such as Sonic, Virtua Fighter et al, launched its branded site. Your first thought upon reading this may well be that poker video games are nothing new in the industry. However, this endeavor immediately stands apart because it involves playing online for real money against human competition, not for virtual chips against AI opponents.

I'm well aware that applying the term massively multiplayer to online poker isn't conventional, and thus requires using a rather broad definition. If we can accept this, there are quite a few areas of overlap and similarity, perhaps more than many would expect, that do make such references possible. Without getting into a lot of the details, consider that as I write this on Sunday, the two leading online poker sites each have well over 100,000 concurrent users, all of whom are playing on instanced tables. Both sites have avatars you name, and that can also be visually customized to some extent. Accounts are limited to a single character / persona, but they and their key stat, money, are basically persistent.

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