One announcement coming out of Sony’s E3 press conference was for a device that has already been around for a few months – just not in the West. The PlayStation TV hit Japan last November, with a release in several other major markets in Asia coming in January. Sony’s tiny home console is now slated to hit North America, Europe and the rest of the PAL market in Q3 of this year, but the question remains – why, exactly, is there another PlayStation console?
Turns out, there’s good enough reason. PlayStation TV is a low-cost console at $100, but console is maybe not the best way of looking at it. PS TV is a media streamer in the same vein as Roku or Apple TV, but because it’s attached to the PlayStation brand, it can do quite a bit more for gamers. The apps – Netflix, Hulu Plus, and all that – are there, but the PS TV’s allure comes from being a home PS Vita console and being able to stream games.
For Vita owners, there is actually a slot for Vita cartridges on the PS TV console itself, and you can sync up to two wireless controllers at once for Vita gaming on the big screen. Eventually, the PS TV will be able to play PlayStation games from all generations, in some way or another. For PlayStation 4 games, the PS TV can stream games to a television from a PlayStation 4 console somewhere else in the home – so, streaming a PS4 game into your bedroom, while the PS4 stays in the living room. For any game that isn’t a Vita or PS4 game, you would look to PlayStation Now, Sony’s forthcoming streaming game service, which promises to feature games from all the way back to the original PlayStation. That, or you can comb the PlayStation Store and see what you can find there.
Of course, using the PlayStation Store would mean downloading games – something you can still do with the PS TV. There’s a memory card slot on the console, so you can store games that way, although there’s no internal storage. The PS TV will be available by itself for $100, or in a $140 bundle including an 8 GB memory card, a wireless DualShock 3 controller, and the LEGO Movie game.