PS Vita TV: Play older game titles cheaply
Published on Jul 21, 2014 5:01 AM
While Sony was focused on launching the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console here last December, it also quietly introduced the PlayStation Vita TV mini-console to the market.
Launched last month, the premise of the $149 device is that you can now play most of your existing PS Vita games from your portable PS Vita handheld console on your television.
There are two packages on sale here. The stand-alone one offers only the unit and you use the existing DualShock controller of the PS3.
Then, there is the bundle that comes with its own controller and an 8GB memory card, which you can add use to add on to the PS Vita TV's 1GB internal memory.
So, instead of staring at the 5-inch screen and playing with the controls there, you can now indulge in role-playing, fighting and action games on the big screen, in the comfort of your home, using the full-sized Sony DualShock 3 controller.
Now, many of you might be thinking that if the plan was to play at home all along, then why not just get a PS3 or PS4 in the first place?
Well, one reason is the price, as the PS Vita TV micro-console is a relatively cheaper option compared with the PS3 and, if your inclinations are towards the old-school games of the past, the PS Vita TV has its own compatible library of games.
But I suspect there is more to the PS Vita TV than just playing old games. The company now has 301 classic games and 161 PlayStation Portable games that are compatible with this system.
For those who want the latest version of Call Of Duty, The Last Of Us or Tomb Raider, this is not for you. But for parents who want something simple and efficient to reward their children with, the PS Vita TV is the way to go.
Set-up is simple. There is an HDMI port to link to a TV and it uses its own power supply. There is a single USB port at the rear for you to charge the controller.
The actual device looks like a rectangle portable battery pack and lies flat on a table top. There is a power button on its front and a game-cartridge slot on its right. Everything else is located at the rear.
While the device is capable of up to 1,080i output, when I hooked it up, my TV could use an output of only 720p.
The display layout on screen is identical to that on the portable console, but here is the fine print - not all PS Vita games work on the PS Vita TV. The handheld uses a rear and front touch panel for in-game use, which the DualShock 3 does not have.
This means that popular games such as Call Of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Rayman Legends are not compatible, but users will know only after the game is installed and an incompatibility notice pops up.
For those who want to see the full list of 73 PS Vita titles that work on the PS Vita TV, there is one on the Sony Asia website.
But for those with a PlayStation Plus account, the online game save feature there means you can play a game on the handheld and continue playing on the PS Vita TV.
Sony has also stated that you can link the PS Vita TV to a PS4 for remote play but, for now, the feature has not been enabled yet.
For me, though, the true power of the PS Vita TV lies in the fact that it supports more than 450 older PlayStation games that you can now resurrect on your TV.
In an age where mobile games on your phone are free but in-app purchases are chargeable, the older game titles here are a must-have.
Fans of Chrono Cross, Parasite Eve, Metal Slug and the many Final Fantasy titles can now play them at home, and the bulk of them cost less than $8 per game.
It may not be free in the beginning, but once you pay for these games, the full game is available and you will not be enticed to pay to progress in the game.
And like many digital downloads, these games stay with users and can be downloaded and enjoyed across multiple devices.
- The PS Vita TV is not a replacement PS Vita console, but for those looking at something more satisfying than a mobile-game experience, the PS Vita TV offers it at a cheap price.
Price: $149 (stand-alone) and $219 (value pack – bundled with controller)
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Controller: DualShock 3
Value for money: 4/5