A new software emulator that turns Pentium PCs into Sony PlayStations may be challenged in court by the Japanese electronics giant. Like the Connectix Virtual Game Station released in January, the Bleem emulator released Monday turns a personal computer into a PlayStation game console. Unlike the Connectix product, the Bleem emulator doesn’t require a fast, new Power Mac G3. Bleem says its emulator will run on older 166 MHz Pentium systems. A demonstration version of the emulator is available from Bleem’s Web site. The full product will be released 10 April for $39.95. The demo version has limited resolution, will not save games, has no sound effects, and does not support 3-D graphics.

But just as Sony tried to block the Connectix emulator, the electronics giant may also challenge Bleem. In February, Sony failed to get a court injunction blocking the Virtual Game Station.

“If Sony wants to get litigious with us, it’ll be very tough,” said David Herpolsheimer, a partner in Bleem. “They have a very, very big stick, and they could bludgeon us to death with lawyers if they want to.“Herpolsheimer said the three-man San Diego company was so apprehensive about legal action, it delayed releasing the emulator. Now that the company has taken the plunge, no attempt has been made to contact Sony for fear of waking the sleeping giant.“We’re keeping our heads down,” Herpolsheimer said. “The lower we are on their radar, the better.” A Sony spokesperson said the company had no comment regarding the prospect of legal action at this time. However, even if Sony decides to sue for infringement of intellectual property rights, Bleem is on solid legal ground because the emulator was re-engineered from the ground up, Herpolsheimer said. “There’s not a bit of code in there that Sony can say is theirs,” he said. “Legally, they don’t have a leg to stand on.” Ho, ho, let the games begin ... http://www.bleem.com/

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