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Japanese arcade giants announce

Three of the biggest players in the Japanese arcade market - Sega, Sammy and Namco - are combining forces to promote a new networking system for Japanese arcade machines.

The three companies hope to ease the burden on arcade operators who are currently forced to employ various different systems, and open the door to more online enabled arcade units.

Called - which stands for Amusement Linkage Live Network, believe it or not - the system uses fibre optic networking technology, and should increase the number of titles making use of online features, whether for head-to-head play or Internet rankings.

When it launches, will enjoy support from high profile titles including Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution when it launches, with Sega pledging that games like VF4: Final Tuned and Virtua Striker 4 will use the system when they come out later this year. Sammy has yet to announce a line-up, but Namco's Tekken 5 will also take advantage of

Networked titles have become increasingly popular in Japanese arcades in recent years, with many of the country's most popular arcade titles offering players the chance to compete in country-wide leagues over network connections.

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Rob Fahey avatar
Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.