Sega was always known as a forward-thinking company even to their detriment at times and at the turn of the millennium Sega of Japan was determined to push the Dreamcast with its internet connectivity into as many new online ventures as possible. Sega was confident that the Dreamcast was uniquely positioned to take advantage of its built-in internet connection and sought about developing probably the most diverse range of non-commercial software for any console before or since.
Sega of Japan developed a staggering number of 非売品 discs even today new discs are still being uncovered. The actual number of different applications that Sega of Japan supported by issuing Not for Sale discs for is currently unknown and quite possible due to their nature they’ll never be a definitive list.
While issuing test discs for prototype hardware and other Sega related endeavours the company developed specific Not for Sale software in association with their respective official bodies. Some like 野村ホームトレード better known as Nomura Home Trade was a continuation between Sega & Nomura securities of a partnership that had begun on the previous hardware generation. Others like the Doricatch series were a new partnership between Sega & Toyota where by Toyota dealerships would have installed Dreamcast kiosks where customers could browse select Toyota cars in detail with the Doricatch software.
The majority of Dreamcast Not for Sale software relates to online infrastructure which generally makes getting definitive information about them exceedingly hard because outside of Sega themselves there’s not really any functioning content and in most cases no trace of them ever having existed.
Sega was keen to embrace online entertainment through the Dreamcast either by playing online games or through the use of specific Not for Sale software that allowed the end user to connect to an exclusive site. D-Net was one such disc that allowed the user to connect to the DEEPLA online entertainment portal. DEEPLA was an online entertainment site that was designed to be accessed by connected internet terminals like the Dreamcast.
DEEPLA was an entertainment subscription service where you could access the internet without the expenditure of a home personal computer. This might seem strange today but back at the turn of the millennium not everyone had or could use a computer and the cost was quite prohibitive especially if you weren’t sure you actually needed one. The home computer was basically the gateway to the internet unlike today where almost any device from fridges, phones & tv’s have online connectivity internet access back in 2000 was realistically limited for most people to the home pc. I’ve linked to the archive DEEPLA site site below which will give you a general overview about the service. © DEEPLA
Sega of Japan in conjunction with DEEPLA saw a gap in the market where by the Dreamcast could fulfil the function of the humble PC and provide internet access to an entertainment portal where you could browse the internet, shop online & check and send email. The cost of a Dreamcast was significantly cheaper than buying a computer and you’d have access to a comparable experience.
DEEPLA charged a subscription fee to access its portal which varied on what package you wanted. The basic package was ¥2,500 to access the service where you could do pretty much normal online related interests. DEEPLA also offered a more expensive entertainment package at ¥2,980 per month this gave access to over 20,000 karaoke songs. There was another option for people on the basic package if the wanted access to the karaoke song package that was charged at ¥500 per day extra. The DEEPLA membership site has luckily been archived and i’ve linked to it below so you can learn more about how they charged for membership.© DEEPLA
DEEPLA sought to stand out from rival online entertainment portals by offering its subscribers exclusive offers and deals that they could get only by being a member of their service. I’m not personally familiar with these offers as i acquired the D-Net software long after the service was finished. The information i could ascertain is that the DEEPLA service was live in 2000 and the service was renewed in early 2001 but by the end of that year DEEPLA’s service was terminated.
Not much is currently known about Sega’s involvement apart from them actually issuing the GD-Rom software for D-Net. The software came with a standard Dreamcast system and i’m not sure how you’d actually apply to get the bundle whether it would have been through Sega or DEEPLA. The D-Net disc itself has a © 2000 date on it and registered to SEGA ENTERPRISES & Japan Exhibition Association (JEA) i can only assume that the JEA were somehow responsible in sponsoring DEEPLA or promoting it in some capacity or even financing them. Unfortunately, i’m unable to find any official confirmation of either DEEPLA or D-Net by the JEA.
The D-Net software was one of many of Sega’s attempts to broaden the Dreamcast’s portfolio as an attempt to make the console a viable alternative to purchasing a computer for online connectivity. Sega of Japan obviously thought that online entertainment would be a key market to expand into and as well as the D-Net experiment they developed many similar not for sale discs for various ventures with many competing directly with the DEEPLA service offering many of the same benefits. Why they invested so many resources in developing and distributing online service discs that were competing against each other either in subscribers or for market share is unknown.
Generally, most people are completely unaware that Sega was even involved developing and distributing such software. There are competing Not for Sale discs that have no information at all online about them. Luckily archived remnants still exist for DEEPLA so its possible to at least get some basic information about the service. But the fact that Sega of Japan were so invested in expanding the Dreamcast into a fully-fledged network terminal leaves us with an assortment of mysterious Not for Sale software discs for which hardly any information exists. Today most of these discs serve no function but back around the turn of the millennium discs like D-Net and other similar discs offered a tantalising future for the Dreamcast.
610-7843 D-Net 非売品
Disc & manual
Connecting to DEEPLA
If anyone can help provide any more information about either DEEPLA or D-Net please get in touch either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector
Thank you for taking the time to read this entry about D-Net its slightly unusual but there is no other information about the software online. Hopefully you find it interesting and i’ll mix in this type of content on the site now & again