Remember the PlayStation TV? Who am I kidding; you’ve probably never even heard of it.
The PSTV, or PlayStation Vita TV as it’s known in the Nippon, is the micro-version of the PlayStation Vita that’s meant to be played on your TV via HDMI. It launched in late 2013 and made its way to the U.S. the following year. It seemed like a novel idea at the time – playing Vita games on your TV. However, the console has been a massive flop.
For one, there’s the reality that the regular Vita has sold significantly less units in its lifetime than its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable. The Vita’s struggles are both caused by and are in relation to its lack of first-party support from Sony. A weak library for the Vita equals an even weaker library for the PSTV.
I say “weaker” because the biggest issue the PSTV has is that it isn’t even compatible with every Vita game. The Vita is a unique piece of hardware. It has a touchscreen, two built in cameras, and a touch sensitive back panel. Games that make use of any of these features don’t translate to the PSTV due to it just being black box that plugs into your television. In fact, the biggest first-party title for the Vita, Uncharted Golden Abyss, is one of many Vita games that aren’t compatible with the PSTV.
News that the PSTV is no longer being sold on Sony’s official Japanese site is hardly surprising. At launch, the console went for $99 in the U.S. and now it’s not uncommon for it to sell for as low as $40 from retailers that haven’t unloaded all of their units yet. I suppose that’s good news for some late adopters out there.
Being truthful, I actually have a fondness for the PSTV. As a content creator, I value anything that provides an avenue for capturing footage from handheld games. A PSTV plus an HDMI splitter (have to get rid of that pesky HDCP) will net you 720p or 1080i footage of Vita games. But best of all, the PSTV allows me to experience Persona 4 Golden – the best game ever made – in full screened magnificence. Yes, thankfully, the Vita’s most highly acclaimed game and sole justification of its existence, P4G, is compatible with the PSTV. Speaking of which, these two things are exactly how my P4G playthrough on the channel is being made possible starting April 11th.
So au revoir, PSTV. You may have been a niche product that no one had interest in buying, but I shall always love you and we will always have Persona 4 Golden.