In addition to announcing a Japanese release for the PS4 and a new, slimmer PS Vita model, Sony also announced something completely unexpected at their pre-Tokyo Game Show Conference. And, coincidentally, Sony‘s latest creation unites their two most recent consoles in some interesting ways.
So, what is this new device you ask? Well, it’s called the PS Vita TV and it may just be the hottest new gaming device this side of a next-gen console.
The PS Vita TV is, in the simplest of terms, a console for playing Vita games on your TV. It boasts an HDMI output port, a slot for Vita cartridges, and a slot for the Vita’s proprietary memory cards. In other words, it’s a Vita without the screen and controls.
Obviously, any TV will replicate the Vita’s screen, and as far as controls are concerned the PS Vita TV can sync with any DualShock 3 controller. Once everything is set-up (i.e. Vita TV plugged in and controller synced), gamers can play any Vita game, or any game a Vita can play (PS One Classic, PSP title) on their TV.
Moreover, the PS Vita TV serves as a decent substitute for an Apple TV or a Roku box in that it can handle a variety of streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Gamers likely have plenty of solutions for their streaming needs, so what’s one more?
But where the PS Vita TV will most impress gamers is with its Remote Play features. Although it won’t be available at launch, the Vita TV can use Remote Play almost exactly like the handheld Vita will be able to, albeit with one key difference.
Instead of streaming PS4 games to the Vita’s OLED screen, however, the Vita TV will stream games to an additional TV and will use the DualShock 4 for control. That means gamers can stream their PS4 console gameplay to another TV through the PS Vita TV. With this feature, the PS Vita TV ostensibly becomes a Slingbox for your PS4 gaming.
Unfortunately, there are two downsides to this very exciting PS Vita TV announcement. First, the device has only been announced for the Japanese market (launch date: November 14th). There’s no reason to think Sony isn’t developing a version for North America and Europe, but the announcement was specifically geared towards Japanese gamers.
The second downside to the announcement is that the Remote Play functionality will be added at a later date through a system update. It’s unclear if that’s because the PS4 launches much later in Japan on February 22nd, or if the functionality is still in development, so that’s something to keep an eye on. We should know more about Remote Play’s timeline when the PS4 hits North American store shelves on November 15th.
Overall, the PS Vita TV sounds like just the thing for gamers who were interested in the Vita’s Remote Play features, but weren’t sold on the Vita as a handheld. With this much cheaper device (about $100), gamers can access their PS4 from nearly any room in their house, and if the mood strikes they can check out what the Vita has to offer in terms of its own experiences.
Does the PS Vita TV sound like something you would be interested in? What do you think the device is missing/needs, if anything?
The PS Vita TV launches November 14, 2013 in Japan. No North American or European release dates have been announced.