Nintendo: 3G Fees Will "Decrease The Customer Base"
Sony's NGP handheld may still be many months from release, but developers are queueing up to support the device even at this early stage. Skyhook Wireless is the latest to jump onto the bandwagon with their innovative GPS location technology that will provide the main geographical location software on the platform. Nintendo, however, have been quick to criticise Sony over this 3G functionality; suggesting that the fees will ultimately hold the NGP back.
Skyhook Wireless uses standard GPS data, Wi-Fi and mobile phone mast triangulation to provide extremely reliable location data that can be used by a variety of applications. No specific functionality has been detailed yet, but we can expect traditional GPS route-finding (possibly with a supplementary price tag) as well as use in creating geographical leaderboards. Naturally, it could also be leveraged into more innovative games that use location as part of the gameplay. The technology is already used by Foursquare and Facebook.
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.
Precise location information is increasingly central to the portable entertainment experience. Skyhook's Core Engine will provide NGP with superior location capabilities.- Masaaki Turuta, SCE chief technology officer
Naturally Skyhook will make use of the NGP's 3G functionality... but Nintendo has spoken out to criticize its inclusion in a handheld gaming device. Speaking to the Japanese Press, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata suggests that 3G fees will "decrease the customer base" as well as alienating more casual consumers. Much of this may be sour grapes, however- especially since a cheaper SKU will simultaneously launch without 3G functionality. [Andriasang]
Is 3G the future of handhelds... or a double-edged sword? Have your say in the comments!