With the PlayStation Vita seemingly all but abandoned by AAA publishers, Sony has decided to launch a console version of the same device with hopes of breathing some new life into the market.
On paper, the PlayStation TV is a brilliant device. As wonderful as the gaming world of handheld devices have served Gamers in the past and is continuing to do so, it’s safe to say most of us have secretly wished we could be holding a controller in the comfort of our homes when not needing to use the device in it’s intended portable design. There have been adapters and cables in the past that have attempted to give us the ability to transcend our handhelds into the realm of the glorious television but suffice to say, none have really put forth the effort required until Sony decided to focus on the PlayStation TV.
The PlayStation TV‘s biggest strength also happens to be its greatest weakness. This is a very versatile device, covering several platforms of games and offering a lot of accessibility in one small box. Where I applaud the device for giving me a lot of options to get my gaming on, I also have to chastise it for doing most of it restrictively. Let’s talk about the meat of the console’s offering, which is the ability to plug PlayStation Vita games directly into it (or download digitally) and live that dream of finally playing quality portable titles on your beautiful HD TV.
The first and foremost thing to stress about playing your Vita games on the PlayStation TV is that they do in fact look beautiful. The console was originally titled the PlayStation Vita TV in Japan when it launched a year ago and was heavily marketed for its ability to play your Vita titles on the big screen, so the fact that they look and play great, should not be a surprise.
Where the console stumbles, and falls pretty hard, is the limited number of Vita games that are actually compatible with the device. Some of the Vita’s most prominent titles are missing from the list of playable games, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and Tearaway. It’s not a total deal breaker, as there are many other games available for the console but it is a let down for Vita owners hoping to invest with their favourite titles.
The PlayStation TV also offers compatibility for Classic platforms, such as the PlayStation One. PlayStation 3 owners will already be familiar with the ability to purchase a digital collection of excellent titles and I’m happy to say that the PlayStation TV offers the same service. The downside to this service on Sony’s new console is that unlike the PlayStation 3, there is no way to fit the titles to the size of your screen. Once again, this is not a deal breaker and considering the Classic titles were never meant for the aspect ratio of current TV’s, the option to Zoom or Stretch the image is only a downside because the PlayStation 3 had the feature and it is strangely omitted from the PlayStation TV.
Where the PlayStation TV shines is its ability to play digital copies of Playstation Portable games. PSP games run in full screen and just like the Vita, they look and play great. The PlayStation Network happens to offer a fair number of quality PSP games and it really stands out as a big checkmark in the positives category for the console.
Another feature of the console is the ability to stream your PlayStation 4 through the PS TV and onto secondary TV’s in the user’s home. This feature actually works quite well and to see the PS4 being integrated into more of Sony’s hardware is a welcomed addition.
Furthermore, the device offers the now infamous PlayStation Now rental streaming service. The service provides a number of titles across various platforms, including the PlayStation 3, but sadly has very high price tags attached to the offered games, making the service a nice inclusion but ultimately hard to recommend.
The PlayStation TV offers very limited streaming services when it comes to content for watching, with the promise of Netflix being integrated “soon.” The ability to play most of your favourite games across multiple platforms with the use of a PlayStation 3 or a PlayStation 4 controller is definitely the ultimate selling point of Sony’s miniature console.
The PlayStation TV doesn’t nail everything it has but there is enough quality in the quantity of its offerings that the tag of $99.99 is a fair asking price. There is enough available content on the console for both new and existing Sony fans, with the assurance of more content being made available over the platform’s life cycle.