SegaSoft, originally headquartered in Redwood City, California and later San Francisco, was a joint venture by Sega and CSK, created to develop and publish single and multiplayer games for the PC, primarily in the North American marketplace. SegaSoft was founded in 1995 and lasted until 2000, when the company was restructured into Sega.com, Inc. SegaSoft was responsible for, among other things, the Heat.net multiplayer game system and publishing the last few titles made by Rocket Science Games.
Heat.net was an online PC gaming system produced by SegaSoft, Sega's PC game division. Heat.net hosted both Sega-published first- and second-party games, as well as popular third-party games of the era, such as Quake II or Baldur's Gate. Heat.net was based on a licensed version of the MPlayer Internet multiplayer gaming system, which itself later became GameSpy. The "currency" in the gaming system was "degrees", earned through playing games, game-related or general trivia contests, viewing ads, or other actions (like hosting enough game rooms in a time period). Heat.net had a loyalty program, in which members, known as "Foot Soldiers", received shirts and Heat.net dog tags.
Heat.net was also the home a collegiate gaming league called HeatCIGL (College Internet Game League). Students from 1,100 registered schools would play Quake II or Unreal Tournament in teams representing their colleges, with play-offs at the end of the season. The championship team received $5,000. The league also gave away a $5,000 "Excellence in Gaming" College Scholarship and $600 for each player in their All Star Tournament.
Heat.net's degree system would pay players to play, one would receive degrees per hour spent online playing. All players would accumulate degrees however only players who were premium members could spend them and not have their degree count reset at the end of the month. Degrees could be spent online first at a heat.net run store where players had a small selection of games and computer related items to pick from. Later heat.net partnered with a large web site Chips & Bits' online game superstore which allowed players a vast selection of games, hardware and even magazine subscriptions.
In September 2000, it was announced that Heat.net and HeatCIGL would be shutting down on October 31, 2000. This was due in large part to financial difficulties. At the current time the average player had $10 worth of degrees or more in their account, however was only paying $5 a month as premium membership fee.
Abuse of heat.net was rampant near the end as players would leave their computers logged into heat.net all day and night even when not at the computer themselves. Players could easily make $4 or more a day from heat.net to spend online.
Numerous players would set up Quake II games where you could see 30 or more players at night, simply logged in and no-one playing.
In an attempt to stop this behavior Heat.net created a "parking police" which would go around looking for such rooms. However players who were smart would go to the lobby which allowed players to play such games as StarCraft over a fake LAN while still being logged into heat.net. Many players would simply launch the game launcher and let it hang, thus no game was run but no heat.net staff could tell if they were playing or not.
In an attempt to save Heat.net, the value of degrees were cut by 80 percent, however at this point the damage had been irreversible.
Also an issue which saw the end of Heat.net was that new games had their own built-in browsers and no longer were using matchmaking sites like Heat.net, Quake III Arena being one such game at the time.
In the news
In June 2008, CNET hailed Heat.net as one of the greatest defunct websites in history.
Partial list of games supported on Heat.Net
- Sega-published titles
- Third-Party Titles
Incomplete list of SegaSoft titles
- Bug Too!
- Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover
- Fatal Abyss
- Flesh Feast
- Lose Your Marbles
- Net Fighter
- Plane Crazy
- Rocket Jockey
- Sacred Pools
- Scud: The Disposable Assassin
- Scud: Industrial Evolution
- The Space Bar
- Three Dirty Dwarves
- Trampoline-Fractured Fairy Tales: A Frog Prince
- Zombie Dinner
- ↑ The greatest defunct Web sites and dotcom disasters. CNET (2008-06-05). Retrieved on 2008-06-05.
- SegaSoft at GameFAQs
- SegaSoft at MobyGames
- SegaSoft at IGN
- Photos of the SegaSoft team at E3
- More information about HeatCIGL