What does the PS Vita TV mean for Sony's handheld?

by Nathan Misa 12 Comments 15 Likes 4,073 Views 10/09/2013 Back to PS4 articles PlayStation 4

It’s no secret here on MMGN that I have a soft spot for the PS Vita.

Despite the problems it has faced, its often wasted potential and what seems like a lack of consistent software support, it’s a fantastic handheld that is still finding its footing in a field dominated by big bully Nintendo.

But after Sony’s pre-Tokyo Game Show conference last night, I’m not quite sure Sony believes the Vita will find that footing on its own.


Before I get all cynical, there's no doubt that Sony went for gold last night and delivered. With the usual steady stream of Japanese exclusives for all of their platforms, the unveiling of the sleek new PS Vita model re-design, expanded memory card options and the surprise hit in the form of PS Vita TV, the new trifecta of the PS4, PS Vita and PS Vita TV sounds amazing on paper and the long-awaited potential of Remote Play and game streaming looks to be coming closer to reality.

Long-term support has always been Sony’s thing and the key to their success; anyone worrying about their launch-day offerings will only need to look to their future catalog across all four Sony platforms to be convinced that the PlayStation brand is one you go to for consistent, quality games.

The PS Vita TV’s surprise unveiling, though, stole the show, and hardly anyone will argue with that. As a non-portable variant of the PS Vita handheld, the PS Vita TV connects to a TV via HDMI and allows owners to access their entire library of Vita, PSP and PSOne titles, as well as its apps, without the actual handheld. In a future update, it will allow owners to stream PS4 games via Remote Play.

Along with DualShock 3 support, video streaming services and a slot for Vita memory cards, this tiny device represents an interesting paradigm shift for Sony and their vision for living room dominance: they now want in on the cheap, accessible media center action as well as the must-have next-gen hardware. It makes sense that they would, with the likes of Apple TV stealing the thunder from cable packages and the Ouya testing the waters with cheap Android titles and (questionable) emulation available on your big-screen TV.

Vita TV will sell well, there's no doubt about it. Sony have sold the idea already. Just imagine an affordable media center with the PS Vita and PS4’s already solid indie games line-up PLUS the triple-AAA titles and games exclusive to the Sony brand. That’s not even including the PSN Store, PS Plus and all of the Vita’s apps, and perhaps any potential Vita TV exclusives that Sony may whip up. Get Ouya here, Apple.

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The cynic and writer in me, however, can’t help but wonder what the point was in introducing us to a lighter, thinner and more affordable PS Vita redesign while simultaneously introducing an all-new, admittedly more exciting device that will do 90% of what the Vita does and more, essentially making the handheld irrelevant in the eyes of future adopters. It opens up the Vita catalog to a whole new market, but makes the new Vita handheld redesign feel obsolete, and the Vita handheld’s long-term direction and viability a little bit more unclear.

Sure, not all of the Vita’s catalogue will be playable on the Vita TV: it can’t exactly replicate the handheld's touch-screen-centric controls. But by removing the handheld as the platform to go for these experiences, there really is little incentive for future buyers to go for the handheld over Vita TV unless they absolutely need to play it on the go.

As much as I love my Vita and use it often, I admittedly and rarely ever play it in any capacity outside of home, or care at all for its unique touch-screen features, but I already have bought the console. Plenty of others who haven't feel the same, and those much needed sales to boost the struggling handheld or support to continue making unique-touch based games for those who do enjoy that part of the Vita will instead go to the cheaper media center alternative (which is great but do we need it?), which is a shame.

Still, the PS Vita TV is an experiment that is so far only limited to Japan. It's designed as a supplementary multimedia device to the already powerful and capable PS4, PS3 and PS Vita and that's how serious adopters should view it. It’s cheap, accessible and an exciting prospect but it won’t exactly phase out the Vita handheld on its own: not everyone will want to play Vita games on their TV, and so long as dedicated gamers keep supporting the platform, we'll be fine.

You have to wonder, though, why Sony has introduced a reason not to buy their wonderful handheld so abruptly, and if this is the first sign that Sony is slowly moving on from the handheld rat race and looking to expand into places big, mean Nintendo isn't ready to explore.

What did you think of Sony's pre-TGS conference announcements? How do you think the PS Vita TV will change things up for the PlayStation brand?

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What does the PS Vita TV mean for Sony's handheld? Comments

  • Booth 22083 XP 10/09/2013 +1
    The one thing in the video I didn't quite understand the purpose of was why they would do Remote Play on the Vita TV with the PS4 when it was right next to the TV anyway.

    It is quite an unexpected direction for the Vita. It goes grant us TV output in an usual way, which I suppose let's players and streamers might appreciate.
  • punk 12196 XP 10/09/2013
    I might consider getting this! especially if it works well in remote play for the ps4. I wouldn't being able to play games in another tv while my bro plays with the main console in the other. that would be awesome.

    I'd like to see Sony consider integrating this into the Televisions!

    I like where this vita tv thing is going. i dont really play portable games (mobiles or handheld) i never got into gameboy and even my gf gave me her DS and even then I couldn't get into it.
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  • punk 12196 XP 10/09/2013

    abuu91 said: The one thing in the video I didn't quite understand the purpose of was why they would do Remote Play on the Vita TV with the PS4 when it was right next to the TV anyway.
    It is quite an unexpected direction for the Vita. It goes grant us TV output in an usual way, which I suppose let's players and streamers might appreciate.




    maybe to allow for remote play in other rooms maybe?

  • Raidensoul 12 XP 10/09/2013

    @abuu91 said: The one thing in the video I didn't quite understand the purpose of was why they would do Remote Play on the Vita TV with the PS4 when it was right next to the TV anyway.
    It is quite an unexpected direction for the Vita. It goes grant us TV output in an usual way, which I suppose let's players and streamers might appreciate.



    I'm pretty sure they're referencing the Galkai subscription-based service, not the one you're thinking of. That said, we'll be lucky if we get Galkai by 2019.
  • rancid13 968 XP 10/09/2013
    so if you bought PS Vita Tv without ever having a vita, can you then play PS Vita PS+ games on ps3 (ps3 controller (minus the games that require tough pad.. (will those game be re-available with ps4s touch pad)))? omg so many Qs
  • roadrunner 411 XP 11/09/2013
    theyre putting too many different apps and ascesories into everything, most people dont have the brains, money, and hard drive space to get or use all this shit. im good with what i got, my games, netflix, and a sturdy controler.
  • Juan645 0 XP 11/09/2013
    The thing is a handheld gamer will play on a handheld regardless it's available on other platforms.

    It's the portability and comfort that counts.

    Just because Rayman Legends is available on all platform does that mean that a handheld gamer won't buy it anymore on Vita? No.

    What this does is that it will make the 'Vita' platform cater to both handheld and home console gamers making its install base bigger and more games get made for it.
  • stealth20k 46 XP 11/09/2013
    its bad news for vita
  • Tano 336570 XP 11/09/2013
    It's not surprising it's selling like hotcakes in Japan.

    @stealth20k said: its bad news for vita



    ...why?
  • Huddo 29693 XP 11/09/2013

    @stealth20k said: its bad news for vita


    quite the contrary my dear sir.

    the vita tv will add a wider install base available to developers so that more good quality games come to the system
  • jfctakeme 157 XP 11/09/2013
    This does nothing to harm sales for PS Vita games because Sony aren't stupid enough to change the awesome Vita functions in gameplay in order to suit Dualshock 3.
    PS Vita games will still require PS Vita to play, no doubt about it. If you want Vita TV but you don't want the handheld then you've pretty much got yourself a ps1.
  • CybaCowboy 1988 XP 11/09/2013

    punk said:maybe to allow for remote play in other rooms maybe?



    Exactly!

    Well in the video, the first couple are watching a movie... Then the guys come in - whilst the movie is still being watched - and stream their PlayStation 4 via Remote Play to a second television.
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