Sony has detailed the particulars of how online gameplay and sharing will work on its upcoming PlayStation Vita portable, revealing location-based services and a social network stream for in-game updates.
In a Develop 2011 presentation reported by Eurogamer
, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe R&D manager Phil Rogers explained the Vita's location-based "Near" system, which lets players find other Vita users nearby using the system's GPS functions.
Players will be able to drop and share digital gifts of varying rarity with other Near users, including gifts that can include in-game challenges, as well as information on their last five played games.
Near also allows users to share data with other users even if they aren't nearby at the same time. Rogers outlined a scenario where two users who visited the same location at different times in the day are connected when they check in to Near later in the day.
Vita will also include a "LiveArea," which Rogers described as "essentially where you go to launch your PlayStation Vita day." The area will include an Activity stream, containing automatic updates of friends' progress in various titles, as well as optional updates the players can write themselves.
The LiveArea will also include the ability for publishers to push news of game updates to users, such as DLC or in-game tournaments, though Rogers warned that "it's important not to spam users too much and to use it sensibly."
Rogers also revealed the availability of cross-game voice chat for up to three friends on Vita, though the feature can be overridden in favor of in-game chat.