More ports heading to the Vita

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Sony dropped a few announcements on their blog today:

At least three more ports are headed to the PlayStation Vita. The headliner is Borderlands 2 which will include itself in a $199 PlayStation Vita (PCH-2000) bundle. New hardware revision coupled with the port of a game that’s nearly two years old?

That’s such a compelling offering.

The PlayStation Vita is quickly rising to the top of my list of poor hardware purchase decisions.

Thoughts on the Vita TV

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At first glance, the Vita TV is a brilliant idea. Just look at what it can bring to your HDTV:

  • Play select PlayStation Vita titles
  • Play original PlayStation titles
  • Play PlayStation Portable titles
  • Play PlayStation 4 games via Remote Play
  • Stream Netflix and other video services

Sony promises it can do all of that for about $100. It will debut in Japan first.

So what’s the problem then? I strongly believe Sony should have positioned this Vita TV as a proper media streaming box as well. At the moment, it just looks its namesake: a Vita made for TV.

The specifications are telling. The device only outputs 720p or 1080i which is a notch below the likes of other media streamers. Sony continues to skimp on their wireless solutions by only including a 802.11n 2.4 GHz radio. Any modern media streamer will sport dual band wireless. On the plus side, it does include an Ethernet port albeit only a 10/100 Mbps one.

Most importantly, how will this Vita TV handle its rendering. Will it render all its apps with the Vita’s native resolution of 960 x 544 and scale up? Or will it render Netflix and other apps at 1080i and/or 720p? I hope for the latter but the easiest way for Sony to approach this is to treat the device as a Vita and scale everything up. There’s already evidence of UI being nothing more than the Vita OS blown up in this “A Day with PlayStation” video.

As for the gaming side of the equation, I am most excited for the ability to stream PlayStation 4 games via Remote Play. I hope it works well because that’s the only gaming related capability that I care for. I don’t foresee many Vita/PSOne/PSP games looking so hot on the big screen.

Whether or not this is a compelling standalone product or neat accessory for the PlayStation fan is ultimately up to Sony. I can see this becoming a very attractive media streaming that can play games and videos but only if Sony treats each of those mediums with care. If they don’t half ass this, I would buy one.

Vita Remote Play mandatory across PS4 games*

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* – excluding PlayStation 4 games that utilize the PlayStation 4 Eye camera

Sony has confirmed that all PlayStation 4 titles — excluding those who utilizes special hardware like the PS4 Eye — will support Remote Play via the PlayStation Vita.

One of the coveted features of the Wii U will be realized on the PlayStation 4 thanks to this policy. I don’t know how often I will use it but it’s nice to know that my PlayStation 4 will have a future beyond Persona 4: Golden.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone go out and invest $249.99 just so they can remotely play PlayStation 4 games in their beds but this is still wonderful news for existing owners.

Batman: Arkham Origins & Origins Blackgate Announced

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Surprise. There’s a new Batman: Arkham _____ game coming. This prequel isn’t developed by Rocksteady. Warner Bros. Montreal will take the helm on this while Rocksteady works on something else. Details from the GameInformer magazine reveal can be found here. It will debut for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC on October 25th of this year.

After finishing Batman: Arkham City, more Batman in the vein of those games is the last thing I’m looking for. I am looking forward to the other title, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate which is coming for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

I’m excited for the handheld title because it is a 2D Metroid style game developed by some of the folks who created Metroid Prime. Additional details from the Game Informer reveal of this title can be found here.

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