Sony PSP receives GPS, VOIP and video download service

By Craig Zammit

LEIPZIG: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) revealed at the recent Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, peripherals for its handheld gaming device, PlayStation Portable (PSP), which include GPS navigation, VOIP functionality and instant messenger capabilities.

Set to be known as Go!Explore, the PSP’s satellite navigation for in-car or pedestrian travel was produced in conjunction with TeleAtlas and NavNGo, and will incorporate a GPS receiver and software UMD containing the users chosen maps.

“Bringing GPS navigation to PSP is simply fantastic and shows again the unrivalled potential of PSP,” said SCEE European marketing manager – PSP, Stephane Hareau.

“Developed in collaboration with key companies TeleAtlas and NavNGo, the market leaders in the map data and navigation software industry, Go!Explore offers the best and most innovative in-car and pedestrian GPS navigation experience. With the ability to use 3D city maps and even 3D landmarks in certain key cities, GPS on PSP is a totally unique experience.”

Go!Explore will support 11 unique audio languages on every geographic version including English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish, and will also boast upgradeable maps and points of interest (POI) that can be purchased online via the PlayStation Network.

Also announced for the PSP at the Games Convention was a wireless communications package to be known as Go!Messenger, which will allow PSP users, when in a wi-fi hotspot, to instant message (IM) and call each other for free utilising the latest in VOIP technologies.

“With Go!Messenger, PSP is pushing new boundaries, adding unique communication functionalities to all the existing multimedia experiences,” said Hareau.

“Enabling more than 8.5 Million PSP users across the SCEE region to communicate with each other, through video or voice chat, truly confirms the always evolving nature and potential of PSP.”

Go! Messenger, developed in conjunction with one of the world’s leading telecoms providers, BT, can also place a separately downloaded application on PSP’s Xross MediaBar, which features an on-screen keyboard for instant messaging. By adding a headset, voice chat and voice messaging becomes possible, and by connecting Go!Cam, the attachable video camera for PSP, users also have the ability to make video calls.

At the Games Convention, SCEE also provided more information on its joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting (Sky) to offer PSP owners in the UK and Ireland the opportunity to watch on-demand video.

The Go! branded Video Download Service will launch in early 2008, and will be the first official PSP video download service anywhere in Europe. It will allow millions of PSP owners to turn their device into a personalised library of programmes to enjoy whenever and wherever they choose.

“Sky and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have complementary strengths in content, marketing and technology,” said BSkyB CEO, James Murdoch.

“Together, we’re ideally placed to make portable, on-demand TV a reality. Alongside our existing services for PCs and mobile phones, this is another example of how we’re working to give more choice, flexibility and control to customers.

“The quality of the PSP’s screen and its substantial reach among two million users in the UK and Ireland makes it a natural extension to our multi-platform strategy.”

Go!Explore, Go!Messenger and the Go! Branded video download service will become available in early 2008.

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