Earlier this week, Sony took to the stage at the Tokyo Game Show to announce the excellent-looking PS Vita TV micro-console, which will be released in Japan later this year. Sony haven’t announced anything about a Western release beyond “stay tuned”, but considering the high interest the device has received from this half of the world, we’re expecting to get our hands on it early next year at the latest. We can’t complain really, especially as Japan is getting the Vita TV device instead of the PS4 this year. I bet they’re furious deep down, but in a really polite way.
So, is Vita TV really just a consolation prize for gamers in Sony’s homeland? Far from it, in fact, I really want one. Is that because I’ve been told I can’t? Very possibly, but here are another seven reasons why I’m crossing everything in the hope we’ll soon be plugging the little white box into a nearby TV.
Cheaper than a Vita
In some ways, this is a PS Vita for about £60. Yes, at launch, it won’t play some important titles like Uncharted or WipEout, but as I discuss later on in this article, I expect that could well change. Not only is it cheaper than a Vita, it’s cheaper than the Ouya and it has more attractive functions than the upcoming GameStick, both of which look positively archaic when put side-by-side with Vita TV.
Small enough to use all around the house
Look how small this thing is! Measuring 10.5cm x 6.5cm, you’ll be able to fit Vita TV anywhere near the TV without having to make room. It’ll be like having a second console too, which is especially handy if you start watching a film stream downstairs, then want to finish it in bed. Wireless internet tech inside the little box means you won’t have to worry about plugging an ethernet cable into it either (although you can if you want). Streaming films sounds awesome enough but nowhere near as cool as playing your PS4 from the other side of the house. Read on for more...
It will stream your PS4 games
You’ve seen the PS4, it’s a bit of a beast, you’re not going to want to be running that thing up and down the stairs every time your parents/better half boot you off the TV to watch Britain’s Got Talent, Bints on Ice or whatever.
Just politely leave the room with your DualShock 4 and use the Vita TV on a TV in another room to carry on your PS4 games. All of them (ok, not PS Move titles, smart arse). As impressive as streaming PS4 games to our Vita’s sounds, we’d rather stream it to another TV. It beats the similar function of the Wii U’s gamepad screen hands-down, namely by working on more than two games.
Will support film/TV streaming services
Hulu has already been listed as one of the media services the PS Vita TV will support. A western release would surely see the likes of LoveFilm and Netflix clamour to get involved too. We imagine the UK catch-up TV apps like the iPlayer wouldn’t be too far behind either. Crappier ones like Channel 5 and ITV wouldn’t be missed though.
If Sony can work with our shoddy standards of broadband, we may even see Gaikai’s online collection of games being used on the micro-console to stream full PS3 and PS4 games to your TV.
Can play PS1, PSP and most PS Vita games
Despite some of the prices for the back catalogue of PlayStation games being a little odd to say the least, there are a few bargains on there. Ok, the years may not have been too kind to some of them graphically, but the results are better than plugging a PS1/PS2 into your HD TV with a scart lead, just trust me on that.
Vita TV comes with two card slots. One for PS Vita game cartridges and a Vita memory card slot. We’re presuming there’ll be a digital workaround for people that don’t own an actual Vita too. Perhaps games can be downloaded onto a memory card from a PSN store on the Vita TV micro-console itself, or maybe the little white box can be plugged into a PS3 or PC to download games. We’ll be hitting up Google Translate to check out those Japanese reviews in November.
Could support ALL Vita games once PS4 controller arrives
The PS4 controller with its new trackpad could well replace the touchscreen and rear touchpad that currently prevent some Vita titles working with Vita TV. One of the extra shoulder buttons could be used as a modifier to switch between using the PS4 trackpad as a front/rear Vita touch interface. If I can think of that, surely the Sony boffins are working on something to bring the finest Vita games to our big screen. Yes you, Uncharted.
Or you know, Sony could actually sort it so we could use an actual Vita to control the action on TV. Hell Sony, you could have solved this problem long ago by putting an ‘HDMI out’ port on the flipping Vita itself! In the meantime, here’s a list of the games currently compatible with Vita TV.
Vita games are pretty enough for your big TV
Want to know why the Ouya isn’t selling? Well, it costs £100, which is many shades of ridiculous. But the other reason is nobody wants to play ugly-ass android titles on their TV. The PS Vita is bringing us graphics almost on a par with the PS3. Have you seen Rayman Legends on that thing? Lumines, Dragon’s Crown, Persona 4, Soul Sacrifice and so on would all benefit from the big TV experience. Not to mention that it’s generally physically more comfortable playing a TV console game for hours rather than staring down at a handheld.
So, how about it readers? Does the PS Vita TV device interest you? We’d love to hear from current Vita owners and non-owners alike. Feel free to admit you bought an Ouya too and tell us how you feel now.