PS Vita cross-platform gaming overview

Continuation Play

One of the more compelling aspects of the Vita/PS3 relationship, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time on the road, is “Continuation Play,” which enables players to save their progress in a game on PS3, load up that save in a Vita copy of the same game, and continue seamlessly from where they left off.

Above: Dungeon-crawler Warrior's Lair (formerly known as Ruin) will take advantage of Continuation Play and cross-platform multiplayer

It’s something that’s been tried before with the PSP, but the advent of cloud saves and a smaller tech gap between the PS3 and Vita make it seem more viable. Unfortunately, none of the titles that support this have hit the market yet, so for now it remains little more than a promise.

Remote Play

Like the PSP before it, the Vita supports Remote Play, enabling players to use the handheld to control their PS3s from anywhere with a strong Internet connection. And like on the PSP, the feature’s latest iteration leaves a lot to be desired, at least for now. As of this writing, it still works with only a handful of PSN and retail releases – although on the plus side, it also works with any PSOne game, making it a great excuse to play the ones you’ve probably got moldering away on your PS3’s hard drive.

Above: It also supports the PS3 version of Lego Batman. You guys like Lego Batman, right?

Take it for a ride

One of the coolest uses of cross-platform play that we’ve seen so far, while not heavily advertised, is in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The game doesn’t allow any direct play between PS3 and Vita users, but it does give Vita players free access to any DLC they’ve already downloaded on PS3 (and vice versa). It also features something that’s potentially much more interesting: the Ultimate Controller mode, which lets players use the Vita as a wireless, touchscreen-enabled controller – assuming they’ve got PS3 and Vita copies of the game, that is, which may be asking a lot of all but the most hardcore fans.

It’s not that UMvC3’s use of this feature is particularly interesting, seeing as it just adds five new “buttons” for special moves and X-Factor activation (although that’s certainly fun, and removes some of the learning curve for those who just want to experiment with the game’s 50 characters). What gets us excited is the possibility that more developers could take a similar approach and add optional touchscreen support to their PS3 games now, while the Wii U is still just a vague promise lingering just over the horizon.

Above: This could be the start of something really cool (if we're lucky)

Of course, that idea could easily go the way of using the PSP as the PS3’s rear-view mirror, but it’s an interesting one to consider nonetheless. Especially since, when the Wii U launches, developers who want to jump on that particular bandwagon will need to think of touchscreen functionality (or at least second-screen functionality) for their games anyway. Adapting those for PS3/Vita probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch; let’s just hope developers can come up with interesting applications for it, and for cross-platform play in general, in the coming months.