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Connectix launches upgrade and ramps up production for retail sales

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Connectix yesterday announced it was commencing mass production of its PlayStation emulator, Virtual GameStation (VGS), in preparation for the software's retail launch. The announcement was the company's first strike against moves made by PlayStation developer Sony on Wednesday seeking to block sales of the software in preparation for legal action against Connectix for alleged copyright and intellectual property infringement (see Sony to sue Connectix over PlayStation emulator). Sony's initial complaint also claims Connectix's software bypasses the company anti-piracy policy by effectively encouraging the use of bootleg PlayStation CDs. Connectix denies all charges. It claims to have reverse engineered the PlayStation without recourse to Sony intellectual property, and to have "developed technology specifically designed to prohibit the use of pirated PlayStation titles with VGS. We've worked hard to prevent use of pirated software and have added additional security technology into Version 1.1", according to Connectix CEO Roy McDonald. So far, VGS is only compatible with around 100 of the 350-odd PlayStation titles currently on the market, and in case will only play versions of games for the US NTSC TV standard -- so UK users will need to find an importer of US titles. Ironically enough, VGS isn't the first PlayStation clone. Not long after the console's release, 3DO, then suffering from poor sales of its own game unit, began work on a PlayStation-on-a-card product for both PCs and Macs. Alas, nothing ever came of it, though it's not known precisely why. Unlike VGS, 3DO's hardware was discussed before its launch, and its possible that Sony, then making money on hardware as well as software royalties (only the latter add to the bottom line these days), may well have stamped on the development work much as it's trying to do now with VGS. ®

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