Rob Fahey 11:52 13/07/2004
Tokyo conference throws up new details of forthcoming handheld
A number of new details about Sony's PlayStation Portable have been revealed, including the ability for up to 16 players to participate in wireless multiplayer games, and software called "Talkman" which translates between spoken languages.
Along with a number of new software titles and special editions of the PSP hardware, the new features were shown off at the PlayStation Meeting 2004 conference in Tokyo - although they were rather overshadowed by Ken Kutaragi's comments on the PS3, which we [reported on
The PlayStation Portable will be able to support up to 16 players in multiplayer games using the Wireless LAN link which is built into the console, it was revealed, with no "hub" hardware required for this functionality. It has previously been suggested that the system will also be able to play online multiplayer games when connected to a public Wireless LAN hot spot or a home Wireless LAN system, although this was not discussed at the conference.
The firm demonstrated a piece of software called Talkman, which utilises the built-in microphone port of the PSP and allows users to speak into the device in one language and have what they said translated into another, spoken, language. The software uses a cartoon bird as its main interface, which is able to converse in, and translate between, up to nine languages.
The demonstration at the conference only showed Talkman translating between Japanese and English, but the company suggested that in its final incarnation, the software will be extremely useful as both a foreign language training tool, and as a translation device for people abroad.
It's not clear whether it would be possible to use Talkman to translate real-time voice conversations between PSP users - a feature which was recently revealed for mobile phones by Toshiba.
A number of new software titles were also revealed for the platform at the conference - including Need for Speed from Electronic Arts, Harvest Moon from Marvelous and a title based on popular anime series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.