Why PS Vita TV could be Sony’s smartest piece of hardware for years

For those who missed it, Sony recently announced PS Vita TV during a live-stream press conference in Japan. It was announced alongside a redesigned Vita, a Japanese release date for PS4, and a bunch of very Japanese looking PS4 games. And while PlayStation 4 is undoubtedly Sony's poster-boy for the next generation, it’s PS Vita TV that represents one of Sony’s smartest moves in years.

The device is clearly aimed as a rival to Apple TV, only Sony has added a couple of extra features that elevate Vita TV a little higher. There’s a slot on the device for Vita-compatible games and memory cards; allowing you to play Vita, PSP and PS One Classics games on any TV, using a DualShock 3 pad. You could even play against other PS Vita players via Ad Hoc multiplayer.

It also lets you access certain video services, and Hulu was the first partner Sony mentioned. Given how voraciously LoveFilm, NetFlix and Sky have spread onto mobile devices and multimedia boxes like Xbox 360 and PS3, it’s likely that some--if not all--will sign up for Vita TV if it becomes a success and moves to the US and Europe. The only caveat? Getting that all-important, stable broadband connection to make it all work.

All that is very cool. Essentially, you’ve got a device that can stream media and play portable games wherever you are in the world. However, what’s most interesting--and the reason it’s such a clever device--is that Vita TV allows remote play from your PS4. Think about that for a second. Although remote play is currently limited to local use (so, as a second screen within your home), Sony is looking into cloud-based streaming for PlayStation games. With this little white box, no more than the size of a mobile phone, you could eventually play PS4 anywhere in the world. You could take it round to your friend’s house and plunder the Caribbean silly in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, even though he doesn’t have a PS4. Can you think of a better viral marketing campaign for PS4 than allowing people to stream their games while they're visiting friends? If so, I image Sony will want to give you a job.

It’s another, more user-friendly, step ahead of Microsoft when it comes to sharing. While Xbox One has tied itself in knots with DRM and limited profile-sharing, Sony is now offering a device that lets you take your PS4 profile anywhere, and lets you share your Vita (and potentially PS3 and PS4) games with anyone. That’s a big, big deal.

PS Vita TV really opens up the possibility for what Sony can achieve through its network of multimedia devices and partners. It’s a device that not only boosts the appeal of PS Vita, and brings the portable closer together with PS4; it also makes your PlayStation games and subscriptions (like PS Plus--you could use Vita TV to play free PS+ Vita games, without owning a Vita) more valuable. PS Vita games become even more essential travel companions and, crucially, the Vita brand gets even more attractive to big developers again. Which means more delicious games.

It’s smart tech, and a real statement of intent from Sony that you will always be connected with your PlayStation experiences wherever, whenever. It’s a big step into the next-generation. However, it’s the price that really impresses. While Sony has been criticised in the past for making its tech too expensive, PS Vita TV weighs in at 9,480 Yen--just under £65 / $95. That’s circling the edge of ‘impulse buy’ territory--something Vita and PSP never really achieved. Looks like the days of giant enemy crabs and Riiiidge Racer are truly behind us. Thankfully…

You know that kid at parties who talks too much? Drink in hand, way too enthusiastic, ponderously well-educated in topics no one in their right mind should know about? Loud? Well, that kid’s occasionally us. GR Editorials is a semi-regular feature where we share our informed insights on the news at hand. Sharp, funny, and finger-on-the-pulse, it’s the information you need to know even when you don’t know you need it.

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • coolasj19 - September 10, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    Gameradar, congrats. You are host to the first article that has covered every facet and possibility of the VTV. I'm gonna share this like crazy.
  • Cinaclov - September 10, 2013 5:03 a.m.

    That's a good point about the PlayStation+ games, I'd forgotten about that. I already have a fairly big catalog of Vita games from the service, even if you couldn't play the games that require touchscreen input using the Vita TV (so no games like Uncharted that added touch unnecessarily :( ) it'd still be a good deal of games made available for not all that much.
  • Electro712 - September 9, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    HAHA okay, I would LOVE to see the day when someone can take their Vita TV to friends' house and play AC4 over the internet; you'd need a PRETTY high speed connection for that. Good luck with that one Sony. Also, I don't see how this is a step-ahead of MIcrosoft; seeing as how when I buy a game digitally on the Xbox One, that game is tied to my profile wherever I go. So instead of taking my smartphone-sized Vita TV to a friends' house and connecting all that shit up, I just sign in and I'm ready to play. Good thing my Xbox One will already have access to my TV box; without having to spend $95 on another piece of tech. Although, the PS Vita games on full-screen sounds interesting; along with the streaming of all the free PS+ Vita games Sony's going to give out.
  • Kevling - September 9, 2013 11:59 p.m.

    Not really - OnLive worked fine (requires a 3-5mb connection depending on screen size) and this is essentially the same thing.
  • aaron-smith - September 9, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Let's rate how much I care about this. 0 I've always wanted to be able to play my "portable" games on the big screen. This is a waste of time.
  • coolasj19 - September 10, 2013 1:49 p.m.

    Paraphrase of what you just said : I don't want it, and I am willfully ignorant of the other features of this device. That means it sucks.
  • rainn'sgaydar - September 9, 2013 1:56 p.m.

    I've had very good experiences with it at home, but I've only played a handful of times that way. But Shadow of the Colossus worked well when I tried it, so the tech is certainly there and capable.
  • shawksta - September 9, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    The intention and what they are doing is really impressive, hopefully its something to stay and wont be brushed off too easily
  • JarkayColt - September 9, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    I'm not sure if I really understand this or not...basically, is it letting you use your devices more interchangeably? So, you can play Vita on your TV, and PS4 on your Vita? In which case, this thing definitely appeals more to those who have a Vita, or who are going to own both it and a PS4. So as this editorial states it could work wonders for Vita support and sales, seeings as most people probably don't own one yet. I mean, I don't, haha. Ugh, but the concept sounds too complicated for me to get my head around.
  • ollyn - September 9, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    You can play Vita games on it without a Vita. So it essentially works as a cheap Vita console, it gos up against things like Ouya and Apple TV but comes with the added caveat that you can stream your PS4. I think it looks great problem at the moment is that some of Vitas best games cannot be played because it lacks the touch screens so you can't play Uncharted or Gravity Rush but some speculate that functionality will be patched into these games. Even without a PS4 or Vita (Handheld) this device can play all PSP,PS1 and the Majority of PS Vita games.
  • Suzushiiro - September 9, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    They actually confirmed a while back that remote play will work over a non-local connection, so you can take the Vita TV on vacation with you and stream PS4 games from your home if you want. This is obviously dependent on a decently reliable internet connection, of course.
  • rainn'sgaydar - September 9, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I agree. And thank you for almost always responding to questions and suggestions!
  • BladedFalcon - September 9, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    I admit I am still not entirely sure how this thing works, probably because I'm also completely ignorant about the Apple TV or any stuff like that. What little I DO understand about it though, sounds pretty cool, though I'm not sure it's for me. Even at 100 bucks I still find the Vita's catalog of games extremely lacking, and as a hardcore loner who has a TV all of himself, I have no real need or reason to play or use another PS4 anywhere else :P
  • rainn'sgaydar - September 9, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    Gravity Rush and Persona make the $100 point close to worth it. Any third game that catches your eye would probably be enough, if you ask me. Which you didn't, but there's my two cents anyway.
  • Cyberninja - September 9, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    I don't feel its worth it unless you have other games, after all if you have a ps2 already(or get one cheap) you can get vanilla P4 and Gravity Rush is 6 hours and I don't think it will be one of the compatible games because it uses the touch screen for dodge which could be remapped hopefully.
  • BladedFalcon - September 9, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    Yeah, like CyberNinja said, Gravity Rush IS a game I'm interested, but it isn't enough, and since it does use the touchpads and such, it's likely non-compatible :/
  • rainn'sgaydar - September 9, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    Those are condemning arguments, for sure.
  • Bob_Caulk - September 9, 2013 5:30 a.m.

    Even if this is only local at first, that would be a really cool way to get your PS4 on multiple TVs around the house. Say you mainly game on your big screen in the living room, but want to play in bed before going to sleep as well. Well with this guy you could easily stream your PS4 into your bedroom.
  • Shinn - September 9, 2013 5:29 a.m.

    I kinda wish it had a micro hdmi port though, a screen that could play this would be ridiculously expensive here in NZ. We're still behind in tech, and this is a pretty cutting edge device.
  • Shinn - September 9, 2013 5:30 a.m.

    Hopefully it does, but it's difficult to tell that from their pr stuff.