Update: Fixed a few errors relating to the PS Vita TV playing physical PSone/PS2 games, so thanks for the info gprime! Also added a handy chart at the bottom that shows off all the features of the system and compares it to the Apple TV and Ouya system.
Recently, Sony surprised most viewers of their recent pre-Tokyo Game Show conference with quite a few announcements, one of them being the PS Vita TV.
For those who are still confused by what the PS Vita TV is, it’s a model of the Vita that functions as a home console. According to the recent interview with Shuhei Yoshida, the PS Vita TV first came about from a desire to see what could be done with the original PS Vita’s hardware, and eventually a console using that hardware soon went into development. In other words, despite what you may have read from other sources, this new system is actually a Vita without the touch screen (or any screen for that matter).
Now I know some people are wondering how could a strange device like this be useful. But for me, the Vita TV has the very awesome purpose of being able to play PSone games, PSP games and PSN games.
Currently I own a PS2, which lets me play the PSone games that I can’t play on my PS3. However, my incredibly old and rare TV adapter is starting to fail and a replacement would be very difficult to find, not to mention the state of my PS2. The PS Vita TV would allow me to play all of my old games while being able to download new ones off the PSN, giving me access to quite the gaming library. That same PSN library also includes quite a few indie titles, turning the Vita TV into a perfect indie system. Being able to play all my PSP games is especially great if I want to use my larger TV and it would allow me to bypass the admittedly terrible “analog nub” the PSP is notorious for. Finally, I can play PS Vita titles that are supported by the system, adding even more games to the already sizable pile. With a price point of only $100 ($149 with the controller), this system is an absolute steal.
The Remote Play feature of the PS Vita TV that lets you stream PS3 and PS4 games is very intriguing, and if implemented well, could really be a huge selling point. I would love to see what Sony does with this.
There are a couple nitpicks that I have, though. The first being the name. I honestly think that PS Vita TV was a poor name choice because there’s too much overlapping, which can cause serious confusion for those that would want to purchase the system. I understand that some of the console’s main purposes is to target more casual gamers that may not want to spend $400 on a brand new console, as well as compete with the Apple TV and Android TV. However, since this product is not directly related to the original Vita, the name is egregious at best. And if Sony is trying to target the same audience that would buy an Apple or Android TV, the name should be much closer to those products, not named after a product that would be relatively unknown to that crowd of buyers. Plus, Apple has incredibly strong brand recognition and loyalty among consumers, which makes it that much harder for Sony to squeeze into that particular market.
Second, the press conference did an incredibly poor job of even explaining all the features of the PS Vita TV and what games it supports. The introduction should have been clear cut and easy to understand, in order to ensure that misinformation would be kept at a minimum. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and there were many big industry websites spreading information that was either misleading or incorrect.
Lastly, I’m still wondering about PS2 games. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of the PS Vita TV being able to play PS2 games, which would be a very obtuse and pointless omission. Having access to that incredibly extensive library would make the purchase an absolute no-brainer, so hopefully Sony announces some kind of PS2 compatibility in the near future.
In short, even though the PS Vita TV needs more marketing, a name change and access to PS2 games to become an absolute must-buy console, it’s still a very promising and honestly excellent idea. I’m curious to see how far this system can go.