Sony inks emulation deal with Connectix

Details of the agreement were not disclosed by either party and a statement issued Wednesday was vague regarding future collaboration beyond noting the two companies will "proceed to define a series of development initiatives in the area of advanced emulation solutions."

What is clear is that the deal means an immediate end to the litigation brought on Connectix by Sony Computer Entertainment America regarding its Virtual Game Station software. It also means the imminent end of sales of the software. Connectix has undertaken to stop selling the application on June 30.

Launched for the Apple Macintosh in January 1999 and later made available for Windows-based systems, the software allows users to play PlayStation games on their desktop and laptop computers. Its release sparked an almost immediate lawsuit from SCEA and the two companies have been battling ever since, although Connectix has always had the upper hand in the case. After a lower court ruled Connectix could continue selling the software, in October last year the US Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case, thus shutting down one of the few avenues left for SCEA.

"We consider that the situation around computer entertainment is changing," said Yoshiko Furusawa, director of corporate communications at Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI), explaining the decision to team up with Connectix. "In the current situation we thought it would be better for both companies if we were collaborating on research and development related to emulation technology."

SCEI, a subsidiary of Sony, is the Tokyo-based parent company of SCEA.

The company's change in heart was evident in the statement announcing the deal. After pursuing Connectix for two years, Shinichi Okamoto, senior vice president of research and development at SCEI, credited the company with possessing "excellent technology in this field."

The two companies will now work on developing emulation technology with all future work by Connectix falling under the auspices of the joint agreement, the statement said. Roy McDonald, president of Connectix, mentioned development tools, consumer products and enterprise solutions as areas in which the two companies will work.

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