TGS 2006: Sony Unveils PSP GPS
Prior to TGS, the announced GPS receiver for Sony's handheld was garnering a ton of media attention. The possibilities inherent in such an add-on are potentially limitless, both in regards to video games and more practical/educational functionality. And on the last day of the show, the PSP's nifty new peripheral finally stepped out from behind its veil.
Slated for release in Japan on December 7, the tiny GPS receiver (it measures less than two square inches and weighs about a half-ounce) is an awfully compact piece of hardware. Unfortunately, attendees weren't able to get very close, as it was an eyes-only presentation. Still, despite the lack of any GPS software, Sony did announce four PSP titles that would take advantage of the receiver.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Konami, December 2006): Players will be able to utilize the GPS to search, locate, and ultimately recruit new characters as allied soldiers.
Minna no Golf-jou (SCEI, 2007): Fans of the Hot Shots series should be familiar with this one, and in this case, the GPS works as a map utility for real-life golf courses. You'll find data on all Japanese golf courses, and you can examine the specifications of each (distance, hazards, slope, etc.). Lastly, you'll even be able to use the GPS as a management tool to keep track of score data.
Planetarium Creator Ohira Takayuki Kanshuu: Home Star Portable (Sega, October 2006): This original constellation navigator will be available two months before the GPS receiver, but no matter. When you pick up the receiver, players will be able to obtain their current location and an accurate star display.
Navigation Soft (Edia, December 2006): This is car-navigation software that boasts all the Japanese roadmaps. And in addition to a direction-finder, the software can be used to locate shops and other facilities.
The GPS unit will retail for 6,000 yen ($51) and even comes with a helpful little case accessory. However it turns out, it should provide a very unique alternative to the typical and predictable.
9/24/2006 Ben Dutka