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Critics scoffed at it, citing poor broadband adoption at the turn of the century.

Sega had made an attempt to capitalize on the ever-growing online gaming scene when it launched the Dreamcast video game console in 1999, including online support as standard, called Sega Net and Dreamarena.The packaging for playable Xbox Live titles on the original Xbox console featured the trademark gold bar underneath the Xbox header.Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Brute Force sported a Live "bubble" design, as they only featured downloadable content.Microsoft has announced plans to extend Live to other platforms such as handhelds and mobile phones as part of the Live Anywhere initiative.The Xbox Live service is available as both a free service, known as Xbox Live Silver and a subscription-based service known as Xbox Live Gold, respectively, with most features such as online gaming restricted to the Gold service.Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates both had a vision of making premium download content and add-ons that would attract many new customers.

Based on this reasoning, the console included a standard Ethernet port (10/100) in order to provide connectivity to common broadband networks, but did not include a modem or any dial-up support, and its online service was designed to support broadband users only.

Sound-dampened booths and broadband-connected Xbox consoles—featuring an early version of Unreal Championship—demonstrated the service on the show floor.

The Epic title was one of the flagship titles for the service, which was slated for a debut on November 15, 2002, marking the anniversary of the Xbox launch.

An updated version of the service became available for the Xbox 360 console at the system's launch in November 2005, and a further enhanced version was released in 2013 with the Xbox One.

The service was extended in 2007 on the Windows platform, named Games for Windows – Live, which makes most aspects of the system available on Windows computers.

Nevertheless, due to lack of widespread broadband adoption at the time, the Dreamcast shipped with only a dial-up modem while a later-released broadband adapter was neither widely supported nor widely available.