PlayStation 4 ecosystem incorporates your PS Vita as a living-room device

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Sony has big plans for the PlayStation Vita in the next generation. Big, big plans.

That’s all! Have a good night, folks!

Wait, you want to know what they are? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Sony’s PlayStation Meeting brought lots of news about the PlayStation 4, but those who were paying careful attention picked up just a few scraps of new info concerning plans for the Vita’s role in the next hardware generation.

As many had speculated, the Vita is a major player in Sony’s next-gen plans. Not just for gaming on the go, but in the living room as well. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said as much in his opening remarks, promising news “later this year” on how the Vita can bring “significant value” to your living-room experience.

The PS4 portion of the presentation offered a few hints. The easiest way to sum up the picture that Sony painted: The Vita will fill dual roles as both a Wii U GamePad-style control device, and as a second-screen content system, a la Microsoft’s SmartGlass. No one said as much, of course, but various concept videos for planned features showed and spoke to both possibilities without making any hard promises.

More concrete is the plan to incorporate Remote Play capabilities for the Vita in all PS4 games. This is described as a “long-term plan,” so don’t expect all (or any?) launch titles to include such support. Presumably the same goes for legacy titles from the PlayStation 3 and earlier. Gaikai CEO Dave Perry said older titles would be made available on the new console – which is not backwards compatible – with the company’s streaming technology. Like Remote Play plans, getting legacy PlayStation content up and running on the PS4 is described as a long-term goal.

Using Gaikai’s technology, the console effectively fills the role of a host server, while the Vita functions as a client. This (presumably) means seamless, lag-free remote play from your console to your handheld. Whether or not the promise becomes a reality remains to be seen, but this is the goal that Sony laid out.

It’s important to remember as you read all of this that many of the promises Sony made are likely in the concept stage at this point. How much of it surfaces –at launch or at all – remains to be seen. It’s clear that Sony is committed to creating a PlayStation 4 ecosystem that extends outside of both the console and the living room, but discussion of the Vita was unsurprisingly muted as Sony set to revealing more about what it’s next-gen console will offer.

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