One of the most popular console manufacturers in the nineties, Sega, has now plunged in what seems to be a fruitful niche in the videogame market: online Flash games for casual players.
Sega has recently unveiled playsega.com, a new site for online games on which they intend not only to offer a wide selection of casual Flash games, but also build a whole gamer community around them. The site doesn’t feature many games yet, but they’re all neatly classified into categories that meet all tastes: sports, arcade, puzzles, word games and more.
However, more than the games in themselves, I think Sega has put the emphasis in the social side of casual gaming. As a starter, you have to create a free user account to be able to play these games. Once you’re inside the community, you can create an avatar and select the so-called “Escape”, a kind of virtual home for your avatar.
There are also hundreds of objects (clothes, accessories, furniture) with which you can customize your avatar and escape. The trick is that all these objects have a price in the site’s own currency: Sega rings. You earn Sega rings by playing games and obtaining in-game achievements. The more you play then, the richer you are and the more objects you can acquire for your avatar.
Playsega.com is generally very well implemented and features an eye-catching design. The site plans to offer new services in the future, such as having a buddy list and a private messaging tool. As of now though, the low number of included games is a bit disappointing.