‘Vita TV’ Gains Positive Western Response
Friendly marketplace could mean North American Release
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 18:09
Sony is apparently “very encouraged” with the West’s response to the Vita TV.
Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said in an interview with Eurogamer that “of course we are thinking of launching [Vita TV] in the US and Europe.”
“But when it comes to the timing, we’ll have to watch the environment and identify what other services are available in the US and Europe and whether we’ll have to add other services,” he continued.
The Vita TV, which plays PlayStation Vita games, as well as runs media applications like Netflix and Sony’s own Music Unlimited, was announced during the company’s pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference. The device seems to be Sony’s answer to set-top boxes such as Roku and the Apple TV. It can also stream PlayStation 4 games over a home network using Gaikai, just like the standard PlayStation Vita will purportedly be able to do when the new console launches in November.
The Vita TV will cost $99 when it launches in Japan on Nov. 14, but so far there has been no mention of a North American, or even European release of the platform.
“The reason we wanted to launch PlayStation Vita TV in Japan first was because we think that there is a significant gap in this market even for a pure streamed TV box,” House elaborated. “There isn’t really a competitor here that’s staked out a claim. And frankly, in my own view, Japan is a little behind the adoption curve in video streaming services.”
The Vita TV has seen a growing contingent of support in North America from the games press. The ability to stream PlayStation 4 games on a separate TV appeals to many parents who often sacrifice the television to family members. Meanwhile, playing PlayStation Vita games with a Dualshock controller on a TV appeals to a significant portion of non-handheld gaming audiences.
Balancing out these advantages, not to mention the lower price point, is the lack of a touch-screen. Many Vita games make use of the front and/or rear touch-screens. As the Vita TV doesn’t have either of these, that functionality would be lost, meaning games that require it would be unplayable.
According to Sony’s own compatibility list, many upcoming games will be built to work with the device from the start. Some of these include Dangan-Ronpa 1-2 Reload, God Eater 2, and Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster.
Meanwhile, certain older games will be patched for compatibility; games like Persona 4: Golden, Soul Sacrifice and Lumines: Electronic Symphony.
However, there are some notably absences on Vita TV’s line-up: the open world action game Gravity Rush, visual novel/puzzle game Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss just to name a few.
Most of these, especially those published by Sony, will likely receive patches in the future. In the meantime, however, Vita TV will be missing an at least noticeable portion of its library. Whether or not that matters to a set-top box audience remains to be seen, especially when the Vita TV has so much else to offer.
Hopefully House’s comments mean we’ll be able to find out for ourselves sometime in the future.