In a press release today, Japanese hardware firm I-O Data announced the official PlayOnline modem for Square's upcoming videogame network. Carrying the sexy sobriquet, "PS2GATE PlayOnline Official", the unit is a standard V.90 56k USB modem that will connect directly to the PS2 via the available port. No price has been listed as of yet.
So, what makes it special? Not much, it's just a run-of-the-mill modem that the company has approved. Square has tapped the PS2GATE as the modem of choice for use on its PlayOnline Beta network, as well as the real deal, which is slated to go live in North America sometime in early 2002. The modem will be released in Japan in mid-September, and, right now, it seems that the first compatible game will be the company's foray into the online RPG world, Final Fantasy XI, with the latter set for a Spring 2002 Japanese release.
No such announcement has been made for North America or Europe, but considering that any USB modem will probably function perfectly it's not something to fret over. Keep that dial tuned to RPGamer as Square divulges more of its online masterplan.