Sega Enterprises has struck a partnership with Japanese production outfits Omega Pictures and Suncent CinemaWorks under which it will promote and distribute their movies at its newly-opened Net@ chain of game arcades in Tokyo.

"This is only the start of our plans with Omega and other film companies for integrating films into our network," said a Sega spokesman. " We will not just screen films in our arcades, but also become involved in their planning, production and promotion."

The first film to be screened in the Net@ game arcades - via a fibre-optic cable network - is Omega's latest horror title Kubikiri Chikyu (The Executioner's Nipple). Admission to the film is free, though gamers pay Y600 ($5.56) for 30 minutes of play. Sega will also screen trailers for other Omega films at the arcades.

The first three Net@ arcades opened in the Tokyo suburbs of Odaiba, Shibuya and Ikebukuro on July 14. Using terminals equipped with 18-inch screens and connected to a fibre-optic cable network, gamers can watch films, music video clips and sports events and play games with opponents in other arcades. Sega intends to expand the chain to 20 arcades in 2000 and to 600 within three years.