The Sega Channel
From the movie The Cable Guy,
Chip Douglas: The future is now! Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel, or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam. There's no end to the possibilities!
Most people have completely forgotten about the Sega Channel. Watching The Cable Guy on HBO, I remember the foreshadowing Jim Carrey’s character made during the movie. He was spot on, but the being of this digital revalution began with the Sega Channel.
((For a monthly subscription fee (usually $14.95 depending on location), along with a $25 activation fee, the subscriber would get an adapter, which plugged into the Genesis cartridge slot, and was connected to their cable television connection. The service would provide them with unlimited access to 50 games, selectable through an on-screen menu, with new games appearing every month and later every 2 weeks. The games would be downloaded in about 1 minute and play just like the retail versions. These games were organized by genre, such as Action, Fighting, Adventure, and Family. Each month, there was a special theme with originally composed music, artwork and game categories.))
In Louisville, we didn’t have the Sega channel. But I remember seeing it in action in Frankfort, KY when I was on campus way back in the day. This predates many of the online gaming system in the late 90s and 00s. Sega made a bold move by creating this channel, which paved the way for how we play games today. (The Wii is very close to this service.)
Yet, the Sega Channel was also a failure too.
Here were a few problems
~The channel was connected through the Sega Genesis: The Genesis was at the end of its lifespan and already had a couple of other add-ons. The Genesis was on the way out by this time and there wasn’t much room for improvement.
~Sega had to make deals directly with cable companies: Which meant not everyone could have this channel. As far as I can remember, Louisville didn’t have the channel.
~Genesis players already owned many of the games available on the channel. (Genesis is planet forbidden! Sorry Star Trek III reference. )
However, I still can’t believe they thought of this before XBOX Live and PS3’s online features. Plus, this paved the way for SegaNet.
Check out this annoying TV ad.