When I woke up this morning, the last thing I expected to see was some Sony gaming news, but nonetheless, it was there. It might actually be a pretty big deal too. Sony announced a new product called the PlayStation Vita TV, launched an updated version of its Vita handheld console, and announced a Playstation 4 launch date for Japanese customers. I’ll start with the last one since it needs only a short statement: the Japanese launch for the PS4 is February 22nd. That’s about 3 months after the US launch. Now on to the new hardware.
PlayStation Vita TV
The best way I can describe this product is part Apple TV, part casual game console. The PS Vita TV is a small 65x105mm rectangular box that looks a lot like a card reader or USB hub. Within that box is the same quad-core ARM A9 CPU and PowerVR graphics that the handheld Vita has. On the back there’s a memory card slot (presumably PS Vita rather than SD), a USB port, HDMI, and Ethernet. There’s also a slot for the card-based PS Vita games you’d buy at your electronics retailer of choice. The PS Vita TV, will also have access to the PlayStation Store library for PS Vita, PSP, and PSone games. At a projected price of about $100 console only or $150 for the value pack with controller and 8GB memory card, this could be a definite alternative for families not in the market for high end hardware like the PS4 or XboxOne. There is a catch though with PS Vita games. It uses the same DualShock 3 as the PS3 which lacks the back touch areas of the Vita. Those games would not be compatible with the Vita TV.
It also does the things that you’d expect from a set-top box giving you access to music, TV, and movies from Sony and other providers in the PSN/Playstation Plus network. The killer feature of the PS Vita TV might be its connectivity with the PS4. The Vita TV has a sort of airplay-like remote play service where it can stream games from your PS4 to your Vita TV. That would mean you only have to buy 1 PS4 for the household. You can leave your PS4 in the living room and play your games on any PS Vita TV connected television in your household. If it works as advertised, this could be well worth a $100.
The PlayStation Vita TV ships November 14th in Japan. I’ll update with US release date and pricing when Sony releases that information.
PS Vita PCH-2000
Sony also announced a new version of the PS Vita itself. The new WiFi model will be 20% slimmer and 15% lighter than the first version of the Vita. The body is more ergonomic with a more rounded profile. Other changes include 1GB of internal storage, notifications at the top of the unit, Micro-USB charging port, and roughly an extra hour of battery life over the current model. The new Vita will come in customary white & black, and in four two-tone colors: Lime Green/White, Light Blue/White, Pink/Black, and Khaki/Black. The new Vita will arrive October 10th in Japan. Like the Vita TV, we’ll get you US details when available.