|The Mac Observer reported last week that Sony may be preparing a lawsuit against Connectix concerning the Virtual Game Station, the PlayStation emulator. At that time, Connectix spokesman Albert Fong told us that Connectix's policy is to not comment on speculation and rumor. Mr. Fong then made it possible for us to speak to Roy McDonald, the President and CEO of Connectix. Mr. McDonald told us right off that he could not comment on any conversations that his company may have had with Sony, but he was able to tell us the following:
"We didn't work with Sony [in the development of the Virtual Game Station]. It is a completely independent development effort. Because of the way we developed the Virtual Game Station, we do not think it infringes on Sony's intellectual property. Right now we are working on finishing the retail packaging and it will be available very soon."
In response to whether their was an impending lawsuit from Sony, Mr. McDonald said "We honestly don't know what view Sony is going to take, but we hope they will choose to cooperate with us. It's all rumor and speculation right now."
Sony representatives were not yet available for any comment.
The Mac Observer Spin: Interestingly enough, Mr. McDonald told us that Virtual Game Station was their most successful product rollout at MacWorld Expo ever. The company sold over 3,000 units which blows away any previous release, including RAMDoubler, their current best seller. Mr. McDonald told us that based on data collected over the years, the Virtual Game Station should also be the most successful retail product release as well.
It seems unclear just how far things have gone with Sony though Mr. McDonald seemed earnest when he told us Connectix knew nothing whatsoever about a lawsuit. It also seems from an outside an unofficial perspective (read: Our Opinion) that Connectix has been very careful to make sure that there would not be any legal impediments to their release of this product.
An Observer who wishes to be remain anonymous wrote in with:
"Your 15 Jan 99 article "Sony In the Midst of Preparing Connectix Lawsuit" contains a major factual error that makes me doubt its accuracy.
According to the article, "Sony was never approached for permission to market the emulator or even to use the Play[S]tation name." This is untrue. Several months ago Connectix approached Sony and demonstrated an unfinished version of VGS to several high-level Sony employees, including a vice president. To say that Sony was never approached is blatantly untrue."
Another Observer asked us why everyone was so fearful of a lawsuit:
"Hi - in your article 'Sony in the Midst of Preparing Lawsuit' etc., there is a quote:
'This afternoon, I heard from two separate insiders at Sony SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment/America) that a suit against Connectix is being prepared. According to one source, Sony was never approached for permission to market the emulator or even to use the Playstation name.'
Um - they *don't* use the Playstation name. It's called the Connectix Virtual Game Station. And why is everyone so worried that Sony will sue? Did Intel sue when Connectix came out with Virtual PC? In each case, all Connectix did was duplicate an instruction set. I guess I just don't get the fear."
Of course, the difference would be if Connectix had in fact violated Sony's intellectual property, something which Connectix denies.
It is our hope that Connectix and Sony will be able to work things out in such a way that everyone wins. Having the Virtual Game Station for the Mac is an excellent asset for the Mac platform to have.
Read The Original Story: Sony In The Midst Of Preparing Connectix Lawsuit
Connectix - Sony