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Sony demos PS2 video conferencing

And some developers are already integrating video communications into games, we hear.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Earlier this week, Sony showed off a PlayStation 2 using a USB webcam to run a video-conference across the Internet at a business summit in Tokyo, prompting all manner of excited claims about the future of the console as a video communication device.

The summit in question was the IPv6 Business Summit 2004, a conference about the IPv6 protocol which will eventually replace the existing IPv4 system which has been used by the entire Internet since the 1980s.

However, contrary to some online reports, video conferencing on the PS2 is not reliant on IPv6 technology - which won't be widely used on the Internet any time in the next five years anyway.

In fact, Sony has been encouraging developers to use the EyeToy webcam peripheral to add video communications to their online PS2 games - over the plain old IPv4 Internet - and it's expected that the first games to use the functionality could arrive before the end of the year.

This move would give Sony a technological lead over Microsoft, who pioneered the widespread use of voice communications in console games by providing a voice headset with the Xbox Live starter kit.

However, it's also likely to raise a number of contentious issues - such as the possibility for abuse of the service, or the ramifications of allowing children to use web cams for video communications.

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