Game developers and publishers have thrown about the term "augmented reality" for many years, but with usually disappointing results. Sony thinks it may be able to deliver on the promise, however, as the freshly-released (in Japan) Playstation Vita offers an integration between gaming and reality... all in mobile form. See also PS4 release date, specs and rumour round-up.
Using the Vita's rear camera and accelerometer, it gathers visual information from wherever you are and figures out your surroundings. At that point, it can intelligently insert virtual elements--street-fighting goons, spaceships, race cars, whatever--and displays the integrated action on the screen, even intelligently figuring out how to make them interact with the real-world surroundings.
The end result is a compelling augmented reality experience (though the term "virtual reality" might be more fitting). For example: Two tanks doing battle could use stacks of real-world books for cover, or giant flowers could burst through the earth. And yes, there's already an augmented reality title ready to pop into the Vita (when you get one): Reality Fighter pits two brawny combatants against each other to engage in fisticuffs on your breakfast table, office desk or car dashboard.
Though it's already released in Japan, the Playstation Vita won't be available to Europe or North America until February, 2012. You can check out some awesome video of the Vita in action, however (including the augmented reality features) at Gametrailers.com.
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