We’ve looked at Playstation Vita’s AR games, and the crazy brand of witchcraft that powers them. It’s time to explore another of the console’s offerings. Near is a free piece of software, pre-installed on the system, and an impressive one at that.
It’s a similar concept to 3DS’s Streetpass function. Users can put the console on standby while out and about, and automatically share information with other owners they happened to pass. Their charming little avatar, or Mii, will flit onto your 3DS, and vice versa (At this point, I like to imagine the recipient scanning the local area for the ridiculously-bewigged transvestite they just passed, as my Mii is currently sporting Princess Peach’s crown and flowing blonde locks). Near, then, is much like Streetpass. If Streetpass has been working out obsessively, and is now hugely beefed up and infinitely more impressive than before. Streetpass could now kick your ass effortlessly.
When Near is activated and updated, it’ll present you with a simple graph-like map. This will show the avatar of each player in range, and how far from you they are. It’s not entirely clear what this range is, but you’ll get a ‘65 people playing nearby’ notification which is reassuring all the same. Selecting an avatar will show you a list of that person’s recently played games. You can choose to pry further at this point for more details. You’ll get a comparison of their play habits with your own, a list of their collected trophies, and the opportunity to add them to your friends list. Presumably before the police arrive to issue you with a restraining order, this is where your cyberspying ends.