It may seem like a while ago now, but during their conference before Tokyo Game Show, Sony revealed their newest product for the entertainment world, the PS Vita TV. While this may be a puzzling move for many, the underlining possibilities are endless. Who it was designed for, and what market it seeks to grasp may decide its success or ultimate failure.
Put simply, the PS Vita TV is the PS Vita hardware inside a box that hooks up to your television. It's so small it can fit inside your pocket and is being described as nearly the size of a deck of cards. Using a Dual Shock 3 controller, you can play games, stream videos, and remotely play your PS4.
The games library stretches over 1,300 titles. It includes PS Vita cartridges, PS Vita downloaded titles, downloaded PSP titles, and PSOne Classics. The video services are not in concrete for the North American and European regions, but one can suspect PlayStation's own video purchasing service as well as the typical Netflix, Hulu, and more.
As for remote play, just as PS Vita will be able to stream games, PS Vita TV will allow you to play the PS4 console on any TV in your home without moving the console. Imagine having your PS4 in the living room and a PS Vita TV hooked up to all your other TVs. You'd be able to play PS4 from anywhere in your house.
With introductions aside, one must ponder what Sony's objective is in this new product. The obvious answer is for the PS Vita TV to compete with other small television devices such as the AppleTV and Roku. With PS4 taking such a gamer-centric approach, the PS Vita TV may be Sony's attempt to remain relevant to those who used their PS3s strictly as an entertainment streaming device. Exactly how Sony will entice that audience will be up to them, but marketing will play a huge part.
However, leaving the PS Vita TV as just a streaming box is cutting its potential severely short. Another product that Sony could be seeking to snuff out is the recent game box, the Ouya. With Sony's recent uprising as the place-to-be for indie developers, the PS Vita TV could become the greatest and cheapest source for quality indie titles on the big screen. Thus putting a severe death nail to the Ouya console.
There's no question that the PS Vita has seen some incredible titles, but questions were brought as to if the handheld console would become strictly a haven for indie titles and lack any double or triple A titles in its future. With the addition of PS Vita TV, there could be a shift in this prospect. If adopted into enough homes, it could essentially sky-rocket adoption of titles. Thus, big name developers would be more drawn to the Vita.
It won't upset any current developers either as their titles could see increased sales as well. The result is an incredible platform for developers that can increase the amount of titles the PS Vita handheld will see. This is an all too welcome idea for those that already have the handheld and are seeking more content.
That doesn't mean that the PS Vita TV is all glamour and rainbows. Many aspects still remain that cause great doubt in its functionality. One major aspect is that the Dual Shock 3 of course does not provide any way of inputting touch commands. This means that a great deal of titles that have touch will not be playable on the PS Vita TV. Something like this represents an incredible issue, but Sony are fully aware of it, so it can't really be seen as an oversight.
Sony has stated that many titles may be simply patched, but there's no doubt that most of the third party developers will find patching to be too expensive for the very little return in investment. This begs the question as to if Sony themselves will make the effort accommodate for this so titles become functional on PS Vita TV. If this isn't the case, uninformed users may find themselves buying titles off the shelf and being unable to play them properly.
On the other side of the coin, this obvious issue may create rejoicing for many PS Vita owners. Though a kick in the butt to a major PS Vita feature, the touch functionality may be going to the way side in future games. With knowledge that the PS Vita TV will lack touch, game developers may either make all touch optional or discontinue it entirely in the future. So if you hate touch, you may never see it again in PS Vita titles.
There's no doubting the potential the PS Vita TV holds for the future of the PlayStation franchise. If its launch is successful, it could bring many great things to the PS Vita brand. To what extent remains to be seen.
The PS Vita TV launches on November 14th in Japan for 9,954 yen (or roughly $100). A North American and European release remains in the air, but we can probably expect the PS Vita TV sometime early 2014.
Are you interested in the PS Vita TV? Is the game library, video streaming, or PS4 remote play the most interest to you? Let us know in the comments below.