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Thursday, March 15, 2001
Connectix, Sony Settle Over VGS
9:28 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

After a series of legal battles that resulted in a stalemate, PlayStation creator Sony has reached an out-of-court settlement with emulation maker Connectix over Virtual Game Station, the PlayStation emulator for Mac and PC. According to the terms this is a "joint technology agreement" which will allow the two companies to work together on emulation solutions in the future. Optimists see this as a chance for PC and Mac users to receive an advanced, Sony-endorsed emulator -- essentially a software PlayStation that delivers what VGS could not, such as high resolutions and greater compatibility. Cynics see the agreement as a complete buyout of VGS and the end of this product.

This story was first spotted on PSX Emu where it was speculated that proof had been found that Connectix could have indeed created their emulator without illegally "disassembling" and re-using parts of the copyrighted PlayStation OS. This would essentially block Sony's argument that the emulator was based on copyrighted materials, their last line of attack after two previous court decisions returned in Connectix's favor. According to the report, Connectix cited a third-party web site full of information about the PlayStation console as the source of their information, not Sony products.

Apparently Sony took this as a sign to settle with Connectix rather than fight a more protracted court battle. A report on PS2IGN details the terms of the settlement :

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Connectix Corporation announced a joint technology agreement today that will have the companies proceed to define a series of development initiatives in the area of advanced emulation solutions.

"We look forward to significant advances in emulation technology as a result of our cooperation with Connectix, who owns excellent technology in this field," stated Shinichi Okamoto, Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

"Our new agreement with SCE gives us the resources to move rapidly into a wide range of exciting new applications for our core emulation and virtual machine technologies," said Roy McDonald, President of Connectix. "We believe that this collaboration can lead to improved development tools, innovative consumer products and productive enterprise solutions."

The agreement ends the legal dispute between the two companies over the Connectix Virtual Game Station (CVGS), SCE will acquire from Connectix all assets related to the VGS emulation technology as part of the deal. Connectix will continue to offer the current version of the CVGS for Macintosh and Windows until June 30, 2001 and will provide continuing support to existing users of the software. All further emulation development for PlayStation after this date will proceed under the auspices of the joint agreement.

Some posters in our own forums and on the two sites mentioned feel that June 30th will simply see the end of the VGS project; others see this as a way for Sony to reap the potential profits of opening up the vast PC market to the even more vast array of available PlayStation games -- sales of which have been understandably dropping off as users move to the more advanced PlayStation 2 console. Only time will tell if this agreement is a buyout, or an extremely rare official endorsement of emulation as a legitimate product. Be sure to visit our forums and voice your own opinion on this matter -- would you buy a Sony-labeled emulator? Do you think this sets a trend for other platforms endorsing or releasing their own commercial emulators?

No OS X or Carbon CVGS?
"Sony Buys Emulation Techology" Report at PS2IGN
Playstation Technology Reference
PSX Emu Trial Report

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Archives  News  Connectix, Sony Settle Over VGS