Sony acquires Virtual Game Station from Connectix

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It appears that former legal adversaries Sony and Connectix Corp. are now joining forces. The companies today announced a "joint technology agreement" that puts an end to their long-running legal battles. This new announcement may also signal the end of Virtual Game Station, at least as we know it today.

Emulation software maker Connectix Corp. first raised the ire of Sony Computer Entertainment in 1999, when Connectix released Virtual Game Station for the Macintosh. Virtual Game Station is a Sony Playstation emulator that enables computers to run many software titles developed for use with the popular PlayStation video game console.

Released first for the Mac, Virtual Game Station was later put into limbo when the U.S. District Court ordered a preliminary injunction which prevented Connectix from selling or distributing the software. Retail copies of Virtual Game Station were just starting to dwindle almost a year later when the injunction was lifted, enabling Connectix to continue to sell and develop the software.

Sony has attempted numerous legal roadblocks since then, but has been thwarted at almost every turn, including a refusal to hear their case by the Supreme Court last October. The companies were to go to a jury trial this month to resolve Sony's complaint that Connectix misappropriated trade secrets and provided unfair competition.

Connectix has released a new version of the emulator with added compatibility and some improvements, and has also introduced a PC version of the emulator. All the while, Connectix president Roy McDonald has steadfastly defended his company's development of Virtual Game Station.

Now it appears that Sony has adopted the old adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." In a press release today, the companies announced that they will "proceed to define a series of development initiatives in the area of advanced emulation solutions."

The companies stopped short of announcing what forms these product development initiatives will take, but Connectix president Roy McDonald says that the new arrangement will give his company the ability to develop new applications for their emulation technology.

"We believe that this collaboration can lead to improved development tools, innovative consumer products and productive enterprise solutions," said McDonald.

Sony senior VP of research and development Shinichi Okamoto also said that Sony is looking forward to advances in emulation as a result of the new partnership, citing Connectix's ownership of "excellent technology in this field."

As part of the agreement, both companies have resolved the myriad legal issues still outstanding regarding Virtual Game Station, and Sony will acquire all core assets from Connectix related to Virtual Game Station. Connectix will still sell the current version to Mac and Windows users through June, and will continue to provide support as well. "All further emulation development ... will proceed under the auspices of the joint agreement," said the companies.

This story, "Sony acquires Virtual Game Station from Connectix" was originally published by PCWorld.

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