Jetsetter: Sony’s PS Vita TV may not make it way to the West

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There’s been a running theme driving Jetsetter here in the final days of summer 2013, and that’s how video game hardware spreads across the Earth. Digital Trends’ weekly column looking at import gaming and the international game development community, has in particular, turned its wandering eye to the many cultures that have gravitated around Sony’s PlayStation machines. We’ve looked at how the PlayStation 4 is hosting a bevy of games whose roots are distinctly British. We then looked at how the PlayStation 4 would break with PlayStation tradition by releasing first in the United States. Shortly after that column ran, Sony confirmed that not only would the PlayStation 4 not hit Japan first like every other PlayStation, it won’t hit Japanese store shelves until February 2014, a full three months after a release in Europe, North America, and elsewhere! The global culture of consoles has always been mercurial, but it’s never been as drastically strange and unrecognizable as it is in 2013.

The PlayStation 4’s delayed release isn’t the only strange Sony console story coming out of Japan. More is afoot, as you’ll see in Jetsetter’s top story.

Sony PS Vita TV (front)

Sony’s PS Vita TV is an Asia exclusive for the time being.

Sony boasted ahead of its Sept. 9 pre-Tokyo Game Show press conference that it would deliver the “news you’ve been waiting for,” but it’s hard to say that anyone was waiting for – or even could have predicted – what the company actually announced. The redesigned slim PS Vita wasn’t terribly surprising, especially when considered in conjunction with the handhelds recent worldwide price drop. No, the surprise was PS Vita TV, a brand new home console not dissimilar to other budget-priced multimedia set top boxes like its eccentric iOS cousin Apple TV. The $100 box uses a Dualshock 3 controller just like the PlayStation 3, but it plays PS Vita and PSP titles right on the television. Eventually, once Sony’s Gaikai service is established, it will potentially stream PlayStation 3 and even PlayStation 4 games. At the time, Sony said that PS Vita will be “released first” in Japan, bucking the trend it had begun to set. What it didn’t say, and what Sony Computer Entertainment head honcho Andrew House confirmed later to Nikkei (via Engadget), is that it may not be leaving Asia at all.

“SCE will the PS Vita TV in Japan Nov. 14, 2013, and in other countries after that,” said House, “The reason why it will be launched in Japan earlier than in other countries is that there is no leading company in Japan’s video streaming market. The company is planning to sell the PS Vita TV in China, South Korea, etc., but not in the U.S. and European markets at this point.”

With the PS Vita handheld gaining a cult following in the U.S., and the PS4 trending well on American retail websites like Amazon, it makes sense that Sony doesn’t want to further split the market. Still, it’s an interesting device. But will it make ever make it out of Asia?

class-zero

Japan-only Final Fantasy Type-0 gets iOS sequel.

Sony’s PSP may end up the last great import game console. Even now, big Japanese publishers like Sega and Namco Bandai are pumping out games for Sony’s ancient portable, and almost all of them are Japan exclusive. The most prominent import-only PSP game of the past few years is Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy Type-0, an original role-playing game directed by Hajime Tabata, the man co-directing the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. Type-0 is, by all accounts, the best game to bear the tarnished Final Fantasy name since 2006’s Final Fantasy XII, but when it finally came out in Japan, the PS Vita was just about to release in the U.S. and Square, a company with a hearty disdain for its more ardent fans, shelved the localization.

Now American Final Fantasy fans will have two games to lust after. This week’s issue of Famitsu magazine (via Siliconera) confirmed that Tabata is making a Type-0 sequel for iOS devices called Final Fantasy Agito. (Fun fact: Type-0 was actually originally named Final Fantasy XIII Agito, just like Final Fantasy XV used to be called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Way to keep things clear, Square.)

“I wanted to write a story that depicted different fates for the main characters of Final Fantasy Type-0,” explains Tabata. “Those who played Final Fantasy Type-0 were very vocal in that regard, and there were also many staff members who said ‘I want to do that,’ as well.”

Will Final Fantasy Agito make it into English even without its predecessor? Maybe! NeoGAF user miladsen spotted US trademarks for the game. Don’t tease, Square.

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