A new add-on system for Nintendo 64 that gives gamers access to e-mail through their game consoles and links them to a “community environment” is being offered by InterAct, a Recoton company. Called SharkWire Online, the device targets children ages 7 to 14 and will include information on games, game saves, and online message boards and discussion groups. Users can also send and receive e-mail to and from anyone with an e-mail address.
“SharkWire Online first provides access to e-mail and it also gives users a browsing experience,” said InterAct director of marketing Randy Gordon. “But it is a closed community. Users cannot browse the Web and accidentally find a pornographic site.”
The SharkWire Online hardware is scheduled to sell for $79.99 with a monthly subscription fee of $9.95. It is being tested now in Atlanta, Minnesota and Dallas and is scheduled for a national rollout in January.
“We’re creating the coolest online meeting place that features the best of what’s totally fun, exciting and outrageous,” said Todd Hayes, InterAct president. “Our partners include high-profile companies that offer news and leading-edge games, products, entertainment and events as well as highlighting cross-promotional programs offering giveaways and contests … all within a kid-safe, parent-friendly, secure environment.”
“The approximately 40 partners offer products and gaming information that would be interesting to our target market,” said Gordon. “They are allowing us to copy stories and information from their Web sites and put it up on SharkWire Online. This gives our users the opportunity to get certain types of information, but they can’t browse the Web and accidentally find a pornographic Web site.”
Some of the partners include GamePro Magazine, GamePro World, Airwalk, G-Shock, UPN, Jones Soda and Big Brother Skateboarding.