News abounded this morning that PlayStation TV received an unofficial price drop in the US, with retailers lowering the price on the microconsole by $20-$40. With PlayStation Now about to drop in the States with a sparkly, new subscription model, PlayStation TV is suddenly a much more attractive proposition. Mind you, when I wrote my first impressions piece for the platform, asking who on earth this over-priced, under-specced, half-baked product could be for, a plethora of comments from American PS TV fans came my way quibbling about price and highligth how the small black box had found a space in their lives.
A month on, and I found myself agreeing with them in my PS TV review. None of the criticisms had changed, but I found myself playing Vita games more readily than I ever had with the handheld console (the DualShock 4 is just infinitely more comfortable) and enjoying Remote Play for singleplayer games that proved pretty lag free.
But that price point is still an issue here in the UK, and we like to call bullsh*t when we see it
That the US model is now vastly cheaper than that of the UK -- $80 compared to £85 for the basic package that doesn't include a memory card or a controller -- is undeniable, but so too is the fact that the US version of PS TV will be a more functional device once PS Now is released and supported on the system.
The UK price hasn't dropped an iota since PS TV launched for £84.99 back in November, and there's been nary a hint of a package like the now $100 bundle that comes with a DualShock 3 and a 4GB memory card in the US.
Last year, we spoke a lot about half-baked games releasing, but the fact of the matter is that PS TV is still, certainly here in the UK, a half-baked piece of hardware. Sony's streaming services are still, at the time of writing, unreleased, and both are US-centric for the time being. A European version of PlayStation is being talked about, but Sony have remained coy on the matter. Mind you, that's more than can be said regarding PlayStation Vue -- the streaming broadcast service designed to rival cable TV in the States.
Outside of being a luxury stream-box for your PS4, there are still too few marquee Vita titles compatible with PS TV to make it a proposition worth recommending regardless of pricing, but when you factor in the high cost here in the UK, not to mention the complete lack of services, you start to wonder why Sony even bothered.
The reason is simple: because they can.
As much as I appreciate having PS TV, as someone who isn't particularly fond of the Vita's tiny, fiddly sticks or general ergonomics and with a setup that lends itself nicely to remote PS4 play, the whole thing rubs me the wrong way. It feels entirely like a product still in development, something that's not helped by having the touch-oriented Vita UI, a point I made in the review.
My fear is that it won't sell well over here now, which might in turn potentially influence whether or not Sony bring the supporting services to the UK at all. I want to be able to evangelise this device, I really do, but as it stands I still can't possibly recommend it, and certainly not at £85.