The ability to play PlayStation 3 dragon-combat game Lair on the PSP has generated plenty of headlines in recent days. What's gained much less attention, however, is the fact that the feature is potentially available for all PlayStation 3 games.
Indeed when checking up on the Lair situation with a Sony technical insider, we got the response: "It's a nice start. Over time, I'm sure we'll have more advanced features."
The core of this PS3-PSP interaction is the PlayStation 3's Remote Play functionality, which allows registered PSPs (you have to initially connect your PSP to your PS3 via USB to register it) to access media such as movies or TV programmes held on the PS3 hard drive, or which are being accessed in real-time on the PS3.
The ability to play PS3 games on your PSP is obviously a more complex technical step, but fundamentally, it can still be reduced to the ability of the PS3 to stream video footage across a wireless network.
So when you're 'playing' Lair on your PSP, the game's not actually running on the PSP's processors. In this case – just like when watching a film that's running on your PS3 – the PSP is merely being used as a display device, albeit one that enables the interactivity of button presses (whether that be to pause the video stream or rotate the in-game camera) with a small enough latency to make playing a game manageable.
That's the reason any PlayStation 3 game could enable the feature, as long as duties such as remapping the second analogue joystick or second shoulder buttons to the PSP's buttons are carried out.
Still, it seems unlikely it would be appropriate for all PS3 games, even if developers wanted to enable the ability (significantly, it is something that's officially supported within Sony's PS3 software development kit).
For example, the latency of most domestic wireless networks would struggle to provide the fluidity required for beat-'em-ups such as Virtua Fighter 5 or Tekken 6. Conversely, a more sedate 30 frames per second experience such as Lair is ideal.
Other examples of how the technology could be employed have already been sowcased by Sony (although yet to be fulfilled), and include the use of PSP as a rear view mirror in racing games such as Gran Turismo.
Expect to hear much more about PS3-PSP interoperability in the coming months as Sony starts to ramp up its Christmas marketing campaign for both platforms.