The lights are on
Last week at E3, we had the opportunity to speak with Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida. During our conversation, which focused on the future of PlayStation and the road the company has taken since the PlayStation 4’s form factor was revealed at E3 2013, we spoke about the changing role of the Vita handheld.
Prior to E3, I wrote about how Vita’s presence at the show would be a good bellwether for its future. It seems that the handheld is in a state of flux, largely in part to the new functions that have been added with PlayStation 4 and are soon to be implemented with PlayStation Now.
We also noticed during Sony’s presentation that the Vita TV device, as it’s known in Japan, has received a re-branding for the west. The PlayStation TV isn’t being billed as a standalone device, but rather a companion to the rest of the PlayStation family, as evidenced by the official product page.
In fact, the Vita isn’t as much of an independent device as it once was. “It’s still an independent platform you can play on. There are games for Vita, especially in Japan,” Yoshida says. “However, more and more people use it as a companion device for PS4 and we are very happy that people are using it as such. We are bringing PlayStation Now to PS Vita. We are making it more of a total ecosystem, with PS4 as the central device.”
Yoshida says that Vita still has its independent uses, but that with the PlayStation 4’s remote play and the upcoming release of the PlayStation Now streaming service, that aspect of the brand is in transition.
Unfortunately, Yoshida was unable to discuss any new titles coming to Vita from Sony’s pillar franchises, like Uncharted or Infamous. He instead pointed to collections of PlayStation 2 titles that have recently been announced or released, including God of War, Sly Cooper, and Ratchet & Clank.
There are more than 100 Vita games in development, but it doesn’t seem like there are many heavy hitters focused on the platform exclusively. Instead, Vita has become a bastion of indie gems, cross-play experiences, and cross-buy opportunities.
The PlayStation TV, which brings many Vita games to television screens, will be out later this year for $100. A bundle will also be available with an 8 GB memory card, a DualShock 3 controller, an HDMI cable, and The Lego Movie Videogame for $139.