Not content to allow its PlayStation Vita handheld system to slip away under the tide of competition and market forces, Sony has come up with a way to expand the Vita's audience with a new mini-console that bridges the gap between the handheld's library and the home entertainment center. Announced earlier today, the Vita TV is on the way and will allow players to enjoy PlayStation Portable, PSOne, and a selection of PS Vita titles on television as controlled by a DualShock 3 controller. The little box includes 1 GB of built-in storage and has slots for Vita game cards and memory cards as well as HDMI output and Wi-Fi capabilities. A future firmware update will even add PlayStation 4 Remote Play to the device, and video streaming services are already on the table. Vita TV launches in Japan in November for ¥9,954 (about $100) for the base model and slightly more for a bundle which includes a controller and a 8 GB memory card. Wired and Joystiq have more details. Here's Wired:
Sony points out that the device will play, at launch, about 1,300 games. That’s because it can play all of the PSP and PSone games that are currently available to download via the PlayStation Network digital games service, plus many of the games that have been released so far for the PlayStation Vita platform. Sony said in a press release that the PS Vita TV cannot play all PS Vita games, since many of them use the touchscreen, motion sensors, camera and other inputs that are only available on the handheld unit.
Sony is positioning Vita TV as a great device for video streaming; at the Tokyo media briefing it stressed that you would be able to use the device to stream video content a wide variety of services.
The Vita TV seems like the Apple TV of the PlayStation family. It's a great way to bring a large library of fun and affordable games to the living room, and for those who already own a Vita or a PS3, it's likely that one already have a decent selection of titles from which to choose (particularly for PS Plus members without a Vita who have been hording handheld titles with a future expectation of playing them someday). There is some duplicated functionality here for those who already have a full suite of modern PlayStation devices, but for those who are not prepared to make a full, expensive investment in the PlayStation ecosystem, the Vita TV sounds like a great way to dip a toe into the water, as it were. Of course, if you just want to play your Vita games on a big screen, that's fine too. $100 is even a very sweet and almost impulse-buy of a price point. I bet the Vita TV does very well and hopefully we'll see it outside of Japan before too long. There's some nice potential here for Sony to beef up its Vita audience and for players to enjoy great games without spending too much money.