With the much anticipated PSP camera and global positioning system (GPS) peripherals due for release towards the end of 2006, Sony has started shipping the tools games developers will need to take advantage of the potentially groundbreaking technology.
Hopefully this means imaginative designers will soon be able to come up with games that blur the edges between the virtual world and the real one, by employing the camera to take photos and video or match colours, say, or by using GPS to enable your Internet-connected PSP to use your location in the world as a feature in-game.
There have been plenty of ideas about how to use such technology before. Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis for mobile made use of the phone's camera for gameplay, for instance. And the ill-fated Gizmondo handheld was set to get a location-based Pokemon-style game (you'd have to go to different countries to collect all the species), as well as a type of GTA game where you could 'control' real locations in your town or city.
No-one's yet managed to get a GPS game with millions of users working though.
In a related move, the price of PSP development kits (the hardware developers need to make games for the system) has been cut by 30 per cent, enabling current PSP games designers and programmers to get more of them, and potentially encouraging new companies with new ideas to get involved with the system.
Considering the rather straightforward types of games currently available for PSP (especially compared to the more wacky stuff being pumped out for Nintendo's DS), we'd hope Sony's goal is to get developers to come up with truly innovative concepts for their widescreen wonder.
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