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NGP to use Skyhook Wireless, as Nintendo questions 3G use

Iwata believes data fees will limit adoption

Skyhook Wireless has announced that their technology will be used in Sony's forthcoming NGP console, allowing the device to track its geographical location for use in games and other apps.

The technology uses a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS and mobile phone tower triangulation to pinpoint a device's location as accurately as possible.

No specific applications have yet been announced, but Skyhook's software is already used by Facebook and Foursquare to personalise content. The technology can also be used with regional leaderboards, finding nearby players with the same games, or enabling localised content.

'The launch of NGP is the latest in a long line of innovations over the past years that demonstrate how the PlayStation brand continues to push the game industry forward,' said Masaaki Turuta chief technology officer of Sony Computer Entertainment.

'Precise location information is increasingly central to the portable entertainment experience. Skyhook's Core Engine will provide NGP with superior location capabilities,' he added.

Although Skyhook's technology makes use of the NGP's 3G functionality, Nintendo has again queried its use and suggested that it will only split the portable console's potential userbase.

Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, as translated by website Andriasang, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that the fees required for 3G would be prohibitive to many potential users.

Sony has already confirmed that both 3G and non-3G versions of the NGP will be released, the latter at a lower price point.

In the same interview Iwata also commented on the increased competition from Apple's iOS platforms, saying: 'We're at a period where it will be difficult to keep the value of our content if we are unable to offer experiences that can't be had on smartphones.'

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David Jenkins

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