The PS Vita TV will support multiplayer gaming, acting as the second Vita console. Basing the system on the PS Vita should help boost sales of the portable console, which is already seeing a bit of a surge thanks to cross-support built in to the Playstation 4. The prospect of the set-top box and its living room audience should help encourage developers to release games for the platform too — also good for the Vita handheld.
Streaming video is pretty much expected of anything that plugs into a TV these days, and Sony’s little box does that as well. Sony has announced support for Hulu as well as its own Video Unlimited and Japanese services such as Tsutaya TV. The device also runs apps designed for the PS Vita, giving access to additional functions such as a Twitter client.
The feature that’s going to drive Microsoft nuts and be another blow to Nintendo — whose sputtering Wii U touts its unique ability to play games in a different room than the console — will be the PS Vita TV’s ability to act as an extender for the Playstation 4. If the TV is being used for something else, no problem — you can play the PS4 games on a screen any other screen by connecting it to the PS Vita TV.
The PS Vita TV looks to be one of the smartest moves Sony has made in some time. After years of losing market share to mobile gaming, the company has chosen to take the battle to Android and iOS as they enter the living room — a completely different strategy from Nintendo’s price-slashing 2DS handheld.
Before anyone gets too excited, the PS Vita TV is only going to be released in Japan on November 14. Although it seems like a no-brainer for Sony to release the device in the U.S., it has yet to announce specifics for such a move. I suspect that might have something to do with the video services which are currently largely specific to the Japanese market. Sony’s going to need to get Netflix (NFLX) support to compete with existing media streamers here.
Once this thing is released in U.S., expect the battle for the living room to get even more interesting than it was shaping up to be. And that’s saying something.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.