Opinion: Can the PlayStation 4 save the PS Vita?
Handheld consoles have taken a beating in the last year. While PlayStation’s Vita does supply a spectacular gaming experience in the palm of your hand, the platform just hasn’t had enough games on offer. The newly announced PlayStation 4 is aiming to make that a moot point.
When Sony dropped the PS4 bomb last Thursday many of us didn’t know what exactly to expect. The PS Vita cross platform functionality is something that it definitely pulled out of its bag of tricks and has unlimited potential if it lives up to Sony’s initial promises. Here’s the rub.
Sony wants gamers to have access to the entire PlayStation 4 catalogue of games anywhere at anytime. This includes the complete back catalogue of PS1, PS2 and PS3 titles. A lofty goal to be sure and through the use of Gaikai cloud technology it is set to make gamers’ wildest dreams come true.
By utilising this technology, which I’m assuming will require a solid WiFi connection and sizable download limit via a tiered subscription based service (time to start investing in a 4G network), you’ll be able to stream any game from any generation of PlayStation hardware to mobile devices. The focus, obviously, will centre on the PlayStation Vita. The implications are staggering.
Imagine you’re at a crucial point in the latest Killzone extravaganza or mid-level through inFamous: Second Son and you have to head on out to engage in that crazy thing people call life. Rather than lament the time away from your beloved console you can take it on the road with you and as you’re waiting for a bus or train, or sitting in a cafe, continue on at your leisure. It’s a bold move that I, for one, never saw coming and really hope works for Sony.
I initially didn’t recognise the PS Vita’s usefulness as a gaming device. Rather, I considered it as more of a mobile multimedia hub to listen to music or play movies. It’s biggest flaw, and my biggest gripe, was a lack of enticing titles to warrant its purchase. Sure there are some great releases, such as Gravity Rush, SoundShapes, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and the upcoming Killzone: Mercenary looks the business, but there’s been a long wait between drinks for must have titles.
Being able to access a multitude of titles on the go, however, is an absolute game changer, no pun intended. Game support by developers will become a thing of the past as Vita owners use it as a bridging mechanism to keep their PS4 with them at all times. It’s a hell of a smart move by Sony and one as both a hardcore gamer and PS Vita advocate, I embrace wholeheartedly.
The Vita has been languishing in the wilderness, desperate for attention since its launch bar a few shining lights. This move by Sony should ensure the the PlayStation 4’s diminutive cousin should live a long and fruitful existence in our hands for the next few years at least. The silver lining is this new lease on life should deal a crushing blow to the Nintendo 3DS which may be a fine gaming handheld in its own right, but doesn’t begin to offer the options the Vita does.
In one fell swoop Sony has managed to increase the shelf life of a struggling console, offer an unprecedented selection of games on the go and drive nail into the coffin of its most serious competitor. Well played Sony. Well, if you can pull it off, that is. I’ll be rooting for you.