This little device allows players to take their Vita, PSP and PS One games and play them via Dualshock controller on their nice big TV at home. Taking various cues from Apple’s TV product, the Vita TV also comes with a range of video and photo services.
So essentially you’ll be able to take your Vita on the go and than seamlessly pick up where you left off at home. For the low cost of $100 or thereabouts, this little box takes your Vita console and turns it into a home entertainment unit at the same time.
For the longest time I’ve been arguing that this is the future of home consoles – powerful portable devices that offer a full home experience at the same time. Why will this be such a compelling proposition? Because now that home consoles are capable of being “full gaming” experiences, the idea of having to sit in the one place to play your favourite games is an antiquated one. People’s lifestyles are now more mobile and busy than ever before, and so devices such as the iPad have become compelling gaming propositions – not only because of the casual five-minute wasters like Candy Crush, but also the ability to play the likes of XCOM or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the plane flight, or the hotel room, or even just in bed.
I thought it would be Nintendo to adopt this model first of the traditional games manufacturers and create a successor to the 3DS that streams to the TV, Wii U-style. Sony has struggled with the whole streaming thing to date, and I thought the best-case scenario would be that it smooths the technology out for a seamless PS4/ Vita link up. But that requires players to own a PS4, so it wouldn’t have been ideal from a cost and experience point of view (after all, if you’re going to buy a PS4, you might as well play PS4 games). With the Vita TV, players get a full Sony console experience without actually buying a Sony home console.
That’s going to be compelling; especially in Japan where the signs are that the home console business is slowly dying. There’s no news on whether the Vita TV will even be an export product, and indeed Sony might be a little worried about confusing the market with offering two boxes under the TV. But, either way, I see this as being a brave first step into the idea that the handheld console can also be the TV console. This is the kind of product that a company like Sony needed to help boost its Vita.