Sega sets vidgame test

Subscribers of the soon-to-be-launched Sega Channel will be able to compete against other videogamers in a test it is piloting with Interactive Network Inc.

The Sega Channel, which will be tested on 12 cable systems this spring, will follow that test with the Interactive one to see if subscribers are interested in competing with others for prizes nationwide.

Subscribers will play the channel using a game-player device they will have to buy and hook up to their cable converter.

To compete, subscribers will play a Sega game in a limited time period and send their score over phone lines to Interactive’s computer network. Within five minutes, Interactive will report the scores. Winners might receive prizes ranging from Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog paraphernalia to college scholarships, said David B. Lockton, Interactive’s chairman and CEO.

Interactive, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., provides a subscription service that lets customers play along with gameshows, sports events and other programming in real time and compete against others.

The companies will test pricing for the competition as well as response to different prizes during the pilot.

One big backer of the test is Tele-Communications Inc., the behemoth cable operator, which owns one-third of the Sega Channel and one-fifth of Interactive.

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