Sony Computer Entertainment and NTT Broadband will launch an online gaming service for the PlayStation 2 in Japan next April.
The service is linked with the release of an add-on module for the PS2 which includes a 40GB hard drive and an Ethernet port. Sony released a revised PS2 model this year with the ability to handle the add-on.
The deal is not exclusive and Sony hopes to announce similar alliances in Europe and the US next year.
Another NTT division, NTT communications, tied up with Microsoft six months ago, agreeing to provide a similar broadband gaming service for the Xbox console at an unspecified time next year.
Microsoft's console is scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in February. It already includes the Ethernet port and 8GB hard drive needed to power the online gaming option.
Both companies recently announced plans to ship their consoles into the Korean market, officially at least, after initially shying away from the region due to fears of software piracy. Korea has the highest broadband penetration in the world, making it an appealing market for online gamers. ®