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Byline: PATRICK SEITZ
Are you ready for some online football?
Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. hope so. The two video game console rivals are counting on thousands of armchair quarterbacks to kick their fledgling online services into gear this fall.
Though online gaming brings in little revenue for the companies today, they hope that changes soon -- as soon as this month, in Microsoft's case.
Sony's PlayStation 2 online service and Microsoft's Xbox Live service went live last year, with the free services led by military games. Now mainstream sports games, especially football, are taking the spotlight.
Electronic Arts Inc.'s "Madden NFL 2004," the leading sports game, is available for offline users of all the main console platforms. But it saw a surge of players taking the game online when it debuted the online version Aug. 12. For now, the online version can be played online only using Sony's PlayStation 2 machine. …