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In theory, is it possible to locate an Internet-connected console? After all, Google Maps can find my computer's location. Can a console connected to the Internet be found in the same or a different way?

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You could ask the user - giving them the option of opting out as it could be an invasion of privacy. –  Jonathan Dickinson Feb 14 '12 at 12:23
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@JonathanDickinson: allowing him to "opt-out" could be considered a false sense of security, since he has got the IP anyway. If we are talking about making that information public instead, of course you are right. –  Lohoris Feb 14 '12 at 13:36

4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

As long as you have the IP address, you can get an estimate, just like for the PCs.

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I don't think that, for example, the 360 and PS3 network APIs give you access to the IP address. You probably have some kind of ID that gets mapped to their services that you have to use in order to connect console to console. Maybe you can get some kind of waiver for connecting to them directly (for example, for cross-platform multiplayer), but I doubt in the general case they allow it. –  Tetrad Feb 14 '12 at 16:56
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That's why I told "as long as you have the IP address" ;) –  Lohoris Feb 14 '12 at 17:26

The best way to location a game device with WiFi would be using an API like Skyhook Wireless's:

http://www.skyhookwireless.com/

Skyhook have their own database that maps WiFi SSID and MAC Address to a specific GPS (lat-lon) location. This is different and a lot more accurate than IP address location. Skyhook's system can be accurate to 5-50m in urban areas - which is really pretty good. Conversely, IP address geolocation should tell you the metropolitan area the user is in and not much more.

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Some versions of PSVita have a GPS.

Game Consoles with WIFI can have some location by IP (same as your mobile)

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It can be possible if the console does not require to do connections through a network of the producer. Triangulation will never be accurate, as you can't measure distances. Using times from ping signals is also inaccurate due to unknown load of the network nodes, and the fact that your neighbor may has a higher ping then somebody outside of your country.

Google is using the Geolocation API (in wikipedia) to locate people.


The ways consoles can be located:

  • If IP is known:
    • average locating through ISP assigned to the IP address Range (e.g by using whois).
    • inaccurate triangulation
  • If access to hardware is possible (through software)
    • request locations of present networks (as the Geolocation API does) on the internet
    • ask the user, if you trust them
    • using APIs provided by the manufacturer
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