Buried amid a rather busy press conference was the surprise announcement that Sony was going ahead with the PlayStation Vita TV, now call the PlayStation TV. And that might actually be a bigger deal than anyone, even Sony, seems to realize.
The Microconsole That Actually Makes Sense
The PlayStation TV is essentially a Vita without the fancy 4G connectivity or screen. Unsurprisingly, stripping out the costly parts means a massive drop in price: You can pick up a PlayStation TV with a DualShock, a game, a memory card to store more games on, and the necessary cables for $140. The basic bundle is just $100. And it’s great for the space conscious because it’s tiny. Here’s the back of the thing, just to grasp how tiny it is:
Did we mention that video streaming will be a big part of the package? And then there’s the streaming games factor.
PlayStation Now, More, Again
The PlayStation TV can stream games from the PS4, just like a Vita. PlayStation TV’s killer app, though, would seem to be PlayStation Now, the streaming service that Sony is rolling out to pretty much anything with the processing power to handle it. As we all know, PlayStation Now’s ultimate goal is to put every title in the PlayStation library up for streaming. Currently, Sony is only talking rental, but it seems likely that, for example, any purchases you’ve made on the PS3 will roll over to a permanent rental in whatever cloud Sony’s tying this thing to.
If so, that’s powerful, for two reasons. One, it means that Sony might finally crack the microconsole market, something nobody else has been able to pull off. And two, it means they’ll be able to get all the people who don’t want a PS4 to buy some new hardware.
A Console-Less Future?
It also seems to hint at where Sony would like to go in the future. It was understandable that broadening the availability of the PlayStation TV took this long; they’re not sure how it’ll affect sales of the flagship console. But it’s fairly clear that, long term, Sony wants to put some form of PlayStation functionality in the hands of anybody who wants it… and we suspect there will be a lot of takers.