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PS Vita TV: A tiny box that brings your handheld games to your TV
September 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose

September 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    44 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Video



In a surprise announcement, Sony today revealed the PS Vita TV box -- a small, portable device that can connect to a television and send its handheld games to TVs.

The 6.5cm by 10.5cm white box can stream videos from services like Hulu or access the videos for sale on the PlayStation Store, and stream this content to your TV via HDMI or wirelessly.

Using this box and a DualShock 3 controller, the same as the one included with the PlayStation 3, PS Vita and PSP games can be played on TV. The box can also stream PS4 games from the console, allowing players to stream PS4 play to different TVs in their homes. Vita TV will also support PS4 Remote Play via a future update.

It'll come with 1GB of internal memory, and a slot on the side will allow for PS Vita retail games to be plugged directly into the device. As with the PS Vita, the PS Vita TV can be put into "standby mode", and instantly turned back on within seconds.

Notably, Sony says that not all PS Vita games will work with the PS Vita TV hardware, since some games require a touchscreen, and this device will not provide such functionality.

The device will launch in Japan first on November 14, and costs 9,954 yen ($100.05) for a basic unit or 14,994 yen ($150.44) with a controller and 8GB Vita Memory Card.


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Comments


Leszek Szczepanski
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I'm kind of curious about this...
Is Sony making competition for itself? Or maybe the contrary - PSV TV may lure people into PS4?
Who is this targeted at? Will they open the market space a bit (or at least make Playstation@Mobile available in more countries)?

Emory Myers
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Does Nintendo compete with itself by selling the 3DS, XL and 2DS? No, they're just growing the install base. It doesn't matter if people buy a Vita, VTV or Slim - they're buying the same software.

Andy Lundell
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I think Leszek meant that this competes with the PS4, which is a separate, more expensive product.

If Nintendo made a 3DS-TV, I think it's safe to say that would cannibalize Wii sales, but perhaps that doesn't apply to the less casual PS4?

Bob Johnson
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@Emory

Good point. But VitaTV seems like the kind of product that should come out if your handheld has been a success - A "People like our games so much that they've been asking to play them on the tv" kind of thing.

Instead the reality is more like, "hey you! You know all those games you didn't want to buy our handheld for? Well now you can play them on your tv."

VitaTV just seems like a stab in the dark. LIke hey, maybe somebody will enjoy this. You never know right? Yep if we don't release it we will never know. Exactly! Let's do it!

Caleb Garner
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Being they are the same company, I don't see it as cannibalizing their sales because ultimately consumers are buying something from them. The Vita wouldn't really replace the PS4 experience either so while it's true, one might buy the cheaper product over a PS4... but ultimately that consumer is still in the Sony world and that certainly offers opportunity to upsell them at a later date.. and really the product is certainly targeting

I just don't think it's really that big a deal because what interests me about micro consoles is the price point of the games as much as the hardware...

if you gave me a ps4 right now for free i'd be like.. thanks.. but i'm not interested in paying $60 for a game.. or even $20.. http://www.gamestop.com/ps-vita seeing these prices for the vita, I don't think this is really going to undercut what microconsole gaming is all about..

Andy Lundell
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"Being they are the same company, I don't see it as cannibalizing their sales"

Huh? That is the DEFINITION of cannibalizing sales. It wouldn't be cannibalism if they competing with a different company. That would just be normal competition.

Keith Thomson
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I don't think this will cannibalize the PS4, but I do think it will cannibalize the PS3. Normally when a new console comes out, Sony's old console becomes their budget model during its last 3-4 years of support.

They're putting this out as their low cost console instead of the PS3, probably because they're having a hard time getting the PS3's pricepoint down to the $130-150 range that their budget consoles usually occupy. It was a stretch for them to even get the $200 model out. They haven't had a truly budget console (aside from the PSP) since the PS2 was retired 3 years ago.

Instead of having a Low and High end console at the same time, then retiring one and having a Midrange console alone, they now have a Low, Mid, and High range console all at the same time. That's something we haven't really seen from Sony before.

Christian Nutt
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So many of the significant first party games have HEAVY reliance on touch -- either a lot of it, or for one small crucial gameplay element, or both. Sigh.

K Gadd
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Probably because Sony demanded it! I wonder how devs feel about this. Will they go back and rework their games to make them controller-only so they can be played on Vita TV? Will it even be worth the cost of doing it?

Christian Nutt
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Yeah, I have no doubt it was Sony's policy. They told me that they require that devs use at least one feature of their consoles, and I have a feeling that policy is even more stringent for first party games. And now..... WHOOPS

The irony is that many of the biggest games, like Uncharted and Gravity Rush... won't be playable with Vita TV. Even Dragon's Crown won't work right (they had to work around the touch stuff for the PS3 edition, but IIRC there is no alternative control scheme for the Vita version, because... why would there be.)

And the really big games, unless Sony makes a big push, are the least likely to get patched due to the difficulty, I'd expect.

Eric Geer
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I never use the touch screen on Dragon's Crown Vita. Should work fine with this.

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Merc Hoffner
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There seem to be a multitude of weird decisions here, but one thing I keep thinking is, why not bundle a Dual Shock 4 instead of a Dual Shock 3? It's a poor solution for many issues here, but the DS4 at least has a minimal touch panel, a gryro and a magnetometer, and it's supposed to be Sony's new brand standard. Meanwhile the DS3 is supposed to be old hat and only has accelerometers.

Also, can anyone tell me under what scenarios remote play comes into use?

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Brian Wolf
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What I'm wondering is whether you could wirelessly connect a PS Vita system to the TV and use it as a controller? It'd be more expensive in the long run, but at least it'd be an option.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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Yeah I thought the same thing,
been waiting for tearaway myself.. and it seems like it's not viable here..

But you know? I think the problem is not the device, the device is smart... the issue is marketing it as a "VITA" the truth is that this is a jab at OUYA and apple TV, not a competition against Vita. It has access to a huge library of (some)PS2, (thousands of)PS1 and (many)PSP titles and a lot of vita games that will likely be patched to accept DS3 inputs..
As that micro console, it's a great idea but I agree, the branding seems like a very bad connection.

Maybe PShub would have been a better name?

Hey! Sony marketing dept. gimme a call.

Jeanne Burch
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The first thing I thought was "they're trying to blunt the effect of OUYA before OUYA has a chance to HAVE an effect." It does cost roughly the same as an OUYA.

Christian Nutt
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Yes, but my point wasn't solely about Dragon's Crown. Uncharted has plenty of touch stuff that's non-optional.

It's irrelevant now, though, as Sony's FAQ has revealed that by pushing L3 and R3, the system can simulate touchscreen control. Maybe not elegant, but workable in most/many cases.

The PS Vita TV also comes out before the PS4 does in Japan by several months, so it might be odd (and certainly would be more expensive) to pack a DS4 in the box.

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Keith Thomson
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Not only that, but you can still use the fallback left-trigger-right-stick mode to simulate the touch screen on Dragon's Crown.

Michael Stevens
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This is exactly what I want from Sony. 100%. I don't care if I can play on a train, I want to pay $100 and be able to use the PSN store to get at Devil Dice and P4G.

It is basically weird, though, that they're showing it with the PS3 controller and saying " no tough controls" rather than have it use the touch on the PS4 controller. This must be a really recent idea.

If they've got the cost down below $80 on their end this should just be in every TV they make after this year. The Vita install base would dwarf everything else, ever.

Joe Zachery
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For Japan this device makes no sense. In the end you still have the current lineup of games. They still weren't buying on their portable Vita. Now for the western market this could be a decent move. Just because most currently Vita owners here use it for the free Playstation Plus content. So this allows them to sale all their old software again. Still when it comes to moving hardware at this point why even have a portable console.

Kujel s
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So it costs $150 (I'm not even going to count the basic version), uses a pretty uncomfotable controller design, is missing a major input component of a regular vita, and requires propritary memory cards. I very much doubt this thing will do all that well.

Sean Sang
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In fairness that "major" component of the Vita isn't actually that major. Very few games rely on it, maybe only Escape plan or Little Deviants come to mind. Most other games it's either an option or a minor feature. The basic model is a fair alternative as I could see a parent in a household with a PS3 buying this for their their child and have them use one of their dual shocks. Also consider that these controllers have been on the market for some time and can be bought for less than $50. The other thing this does have going for them versus the likes of Ouya and gamestick is that it has the brand recognition of Sony. They also have the added benefit of appealing to all those gamers who have no interest in handheld gaming systems but the interest in the games on those platforms. This has potential but it all depends on how much faith Sony has in the product to get in the face of people which is tough when they will also want to do that with the Ps4.

Keith Thomson
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There's lots of games where it's optional, or mainly used for one or two things. Uncharted used it for melee attacks, but everything else was duplicated to the buttons. Gravity rush used it for activating some of the finisher and special attacks, but those could be moved to buttons easily. the addition of 4 more buttons can make up for a lot of the differences in most games.

You'll never play Rymdkapsel on it though.

Maurício Gomes
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Wait what?

I guess you are a MS fan or something?

I don't own a console for... well, my last console was a NES clone.

Anyway, currently I am playing Dark Souls on PC, with a Dual Shock 2... I just love that controller design! It is pure awesome! I don't get why MS fans complain about it O.o

Jason Withrow
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I'm going to miss some of the touch screen games, but honestly, in one fell swoop a Vita product went from off my radar to the top five. I truly hope Nintendo is looking at this, because a DS-compatible 3DS microconsole with TV-out player would be all my dreams come true.

Sean Sang
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That Ds/3ds idea just seems very awkward, you would have two mini screens stacked either horizontally or vertically on your TV. Certainly there would be stretching or black space considering the varying aspect ratios. Then you would be missing the touch interface. Factor in the low res graphics especially of ds games and only a hardcore Ds lover would love that thing. With the Vita Tv the PSP and PsVita were always home consoles on the go in mind so the transition to a home console is much smoother though the lack of games with touch is a little baffling - certainly you could implement some kind of cursor to replace touch.

Bob Johnson
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I think most would rather just put $100 or $150 towards a PS4 which will do the same thing and more.

I can see some value as a PS4 streamer down the road if it works lag free to any room in the house, but that is a tall order. WMC to my 360 extender on my gigabit wired network still has enough lag to it that I can't imagine sp twitch gaming being that great even on a wired network. STreaming works lag free for the Wii U Gamepad, but it has to be in the same room.

Not seeing a big market for something to play Vita and PSP games on your TV because first there has to be a reason to want to play games on the Vita.

George Menhal III
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I'm not interested in this device at all, but I will be picking up a PS Vita along with my PS4 this November if it turns out that Remote Play functions as it has been advertised thus far.

Vita is a cool system with plenty of good games to play, but I would love to see more announcements made in the near future. Killzone and Tearaway both look great, but they are not enough.

Shay Pierce
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And the convergence begins.

Bob Johnson
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What convergence?

Jarod Smiley
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I say it's worth a try fellas...This thing can basically stream media and have apps, which makes it a semi-Apple TV device, but it's also tailored to gamers, and comes with a controller for $50 more if someone in your house doesn't already have one. It's small and portable meaning you can take it with you wherever you go, and the catalog of games for anyone not familiar with PS products is quite extensive.

PS4 is on downstairs but all I need is the Vitatv (should call PStv btw) and I can play it on all the other TV's in the house. Or my friend has PS4, he comes to my house, and we play together because he has VitaTV and we remote play off my Wi-fi to his PS4 at home!

There's just some potentially fun things that can happen with this thing, I definitely wish Sony well with there products. Let's expose people to gaming any way possible. Its one of the best pastimes I can think of besides learning music.

Kyle McBain
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The only valid thing I have really heard about this thing in terms of it being good is being able to remote play off someone else's wi-fi. Which can you really do that? I am not sure if they mentioned this capability, but if it's true then that is what makes this thing awesome and everything else is just extra.

Rant;
I don't understand the hype backing microconsoles besides price. It is an easy thing to get into if you don't have a lot of money to spend. But to me mobile gaming and handhelds allow for me to play games on the move. The reason I turn my TV or PC on for a game is for an immerssive experience and intense gameplay. Which I guess some vita games are more immerssive then console games from ten years ago, but compared to what's on the market today I'm not sure gamers get it... it's like they are forgetting how to game and the bigger companies are eating it up. They are allowing for it and exploiting it which in turn is not only huting the integrity of the game but the quality... which leads into another discussion all its own but that would not be specific to this article.

Jeremy Alessi
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The future belongs to mobile but wireless broadcasting to a communal display is still really important. We've been talking about this since the iPhone launched.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132290/ilang_syne_a_guide_t
o_iphone_game_.php (See the future)

The Apple TV was really the first to do this (almost 2 years after that article). Now everybody's doing it.

The bottom-line is that ball and chain systems are on the way out. Sure you're still going to be able to play on a big screen but you'll no longer only be able to play on a big screen. Also, by the next generation the mobile tech and the big box tech will be one and the same.

Bob Johnson
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I get it. Put a negative label on consoles to make them sound like bad things. I mean who wants a bad thing to keep existing? That doesn't feel good. Dam those pesky consoles.

But the reality is people buy consoles for the games. As long as consoles can put out gaming experiences that people want to pay for then there will be consoles.

ANd the reality is you are always going to be able to put better tech specs into a console-sized box than into a hockey-puck sized box.

So no, next-gen mobile tech and big box tech won't be the same. Where do some people get this nonsense from? Next-gen big box tech will be much faster than next-gen mobile tech.

Jeremy Alessi
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"I get it. Put a negative label on consoles to make them sound like bad things."

It wasn't intended as a negative label, just a mataphor. The fact that I often feel like a prisoner in my living room while using a console is beside the point.

"ANd the reality is you are always going to be able to put better tech specs into a console-sized box than into a hockey-puck sized box."

The reality is that none of us are packing mainframes in our garages.

"So no, next-gen mobile tech and big box tech won't be the same. Where do some people get this nonsense from? Next-gen big box tech will be much faster than next-gen mobile tech."

No it won't because the money's going to dry up. The latest Unity tech demo is all about making tablets shine, not consoles or PC's.

http://unity3d.com/pages/the-chase

At the end of the day people and their desires dictate reality, not raw physics. People want mobility, that's why Sony is copying Apple and not vice versa.

Bob Johnson
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"It wasn't intended as a negative label, just a mataphor. The fact that I often feel like a prisoner in my living room while using a console is beside the point.
"
"The reality is that none of us are packing mainframes in our garages."

"At the end of the day people and their desires dictate reality, not raw physics. People want mobility, that's why Sony is copying Apple and not vice versa."

This is all just you painting consoles as negative things and projecting your wants to the wants of the market.

But if consumers wanted mobile console-like experiences then the Vita would be selling. It's not.



"No it won't because the money's going to dry up. The latest Unity tech demo is all about making tablets shine, not consoles or PC's."

There is no indication that money is drying up for 3rd party AAA western game development. And I think Unity's main focus is on tablet developers not console developers. This has nothing to do with console and mobile tech magically being equal next generation.

No consoles stick around as long as they are able to provide great gaming experiences that you can't get elsewhere.

Jeremy Alessi
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"This is all just you painting consoles as negative things and projecting your wants to the wants of the market."

It's not my wants, when talking about the market, I just call it like I see it. Mobile is growing like a weed.

On the other hand, when talking about features, I did want the ability to project my mobile screen onto my TV so I could share what I was looking at without passing my phone around.

This is not the same thing for consoles. Mobile phones and tablets benefit from this type of feature. I don't think dedicated console games do. The truth of the matter remains to be seen.

Bob Johnson
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The mistake is assuming gaming on smartphones\tablets has anything to with consoles.

A few years ago social gaming was going to take over everything. But there was a lot of novelty built into that craze. And soon consumers tired of it.

I think there is quite a bit of novelty built into this current wave of mobile gaming.

Jeremy Alessi
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Mobile is a mix. There's some of the skinner box social stuff going on but there are also legitimately good gaming experiences. The scale of the market is just so much larger than anything we've seen before.

The hardware will definitely take care of itself:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/199958/Apple_iPhone_5Ss_64bit_
chip_opens_up_new_possibilities_for_developers.php

Once the wireless broadcasting is widely used then I think we'll see some of the best gaming experiences yet.

Jason Withrow
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WayForward has announced that it's going to be porting its engine to Vita and that if Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is funded on KS, it will now be ported to Vita even though it was originally going to skip the system altogether. Wow, that must have been an excited emergency team meeting.

Leon T
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This seems like a bad move. If I don't want a vita or PS4 I wouldn't want this.If I get this why would I need a PS4 since a good amount of games get cross play. Sony is just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

This is something that would work better if the Vita wasn't such a failure at the moment . There are no games that will sell this and their are cheaper media devices to buy. Good news for Sony is that Playstation fans will buy it since it has a low price.

Jarod Smiley
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"Good news for Sony is that Playstation fans will buy it since it has a low price."

So why would it be a bad move then?


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