Originally, I was pessimistically skeptical about PlayStation Vita TV, but it was with good reason. Back when it was announced in Japan, I saw a number of reasons why it wasn't a good idea. It doesn't play every Vita game, it uses a Dual Shock 3 instead of a Dual Shock 4, and the one starter model only came with an 8GB memory card (if you own a Vita, you know that's a joke). Yet now, a year and a PlayStation TV E3 2014 announcement later, I'm suddenly feeling a lot more forgiving. In fact, I even think that there's a chance the PlayStation TV could be successful.
I know it seems odd. Nothing about the PlayStation Vita TV, now PlayStation TV, has changed. It still can't play every Vita game. If you buy the $139 starter model, it still can come bundled with a Dual Shock 3 and an 8GB memory card. Yet, I feel the climate surrounding the game has shifted and, as such, am feeling more generous to the machine that initially appears to be encroaching on the Amazon Fire TV and Ouya's territory.
I credit a part of this to the surprising success of the 2DS. I thought it was going to be a ridiculous failure as well. Yet, after I tried it at a few demo events, I realized it wasn't as bad as it seemed. It wasn't for me, but it's a perfect starter system, especially since it's often on sale for $99. People tend to be very forgiving of handhelds and consoles that come in under $100. Case in point, the stand-alone PlayStation TV will be only $99. If someone already has a Dual Shock 3, or even a Dual Shock 4, and is willing to shell out for the memory cards, it could be an easy way to ease someone into the Vita lifestyle.
Especially if they have a PlayStation Plus, and soon PlayStation Now subscription. The PlayStation TV will be compatible with both, of course, allowing for streaming game rentals, as well as access to a wealth of free Vita games that a user may not have been able to enjoy otherwise. If someone were to pick this up just to use in conjunction with those two services, they could get a lot of gaming enjoyment out of it over the next few years just with the $99 base or $139 starter model.
It's because of those services, which will allow the play of Vita, PSOne, and PSP games and streaming of PS3 and PS4 games, that sets the PlayStation TV apart from other microconsoles. We've all taken a dim view of them, to be sure. I love my Ouya for what it's capable of, and it certainly gets more use than my Wii U, but I never consider it a serious contender. The same is true of things like the Amazon Fire TV. Yet, the more I see and hear about the PlayStation TV, the more I start to think that maybe it isn't a crazy idea after all. Maybe it could find a place in the market.
Especially since the number of Vita games that don't require the touch screen, touch panel, and gyroscopic controls are shrinking. They're still there, to be sure, but more and more games are coming out where said controls are optional. Which means they could end up being a part of a PlayStation TV's library. I'd have to see an officially released list of playable games to make any judgement, but when I think about what I've played over the last year and seen at E3 2014, I can't help but think the PlayStation TV's Vita game library would be larger than one would initially suspect.
But, I suppose my biggest reason for my PlayStation TV change of heart is the simple fact that I love my Vita. I think it's a fantastic system and I adore almost every game I've played on it. There are so many quality titles, and it saddens me that they aren't getting the audience they deserve. I suppose a part of me now wants to change my PlayStation TV view because this microconsole could help bolster and support the handheld. If the PlayStation TV sell, more people will see just how worthwhile the Vita is.
It's easy to be cynical and pessimistic when it comes to the PlayStation TV. I know, because I was before. But now, as its Fall 2014 release window approaches, perhaps we should rethink our stance and even consider welcoming Sony's micro-console into our homes.