PlayStation TV was announced at the recent E3 conference. Surprisingly, the announcement came almost as a footnote to their presentation, an “Oh yeah, we almost forgot. We’ve got this for you, as well.” That’s pretty strange for an announcement that just might have been the most important product intro of the conference. As yet, there is no actual physical product for us to look at and play with yet, so we have to go on the particulars of the announcement and some educated guesses.
What is Playstation TV and What Does It Do?
During the conference, Sony showed some pictures of the PlayStation TV unit to attendees. What they showed looked pretty unremarkable. They showed a box that was just a bit smaller than a standard deck of playing cards. Just to give an idea of the size, they put it next to a stock Sony controller. Sony says we can expect to see it available for purchase this fall.
The device is about the size of a Roku 3 box. Like the Roku, it’s a set-top streaming device. Also like the Roku, and other set-top streaming devices, like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. However, not only will users be able to stream movies, they’ll have access to a wealth of games from Sony, running the gamut from PSP, PS Vita, plus the various iterations of the PlayStation® console lineup: PS1 through PS4. This should give casual gamers an easy path from mobile gaming to the full immersion experience of a console system.
Sony’s PlayStation TV Could Be a Game-Changer
This device is the first of its kind to combine both video streaming of movies and TV shows with the gaming space. That makes it unique, which is something consumers look for. They want to be able to say that they were the first in their group to embrace and adopt new technologies.
Another reason this could be a game-changer for Sony is that they have historically had problems creating synergy with any meaning between their varied products. If implemented correctly, this could be just the thing the gaming and media giant needs to give their gaming console users a way to connect all their Sony devices, as well as give access to online third party services such as Hulu, Aereo, and Netflix. As mentioned above, it could also give casual gamers a fairly inexpensive (about $100) avenue into the gaming world. It also looks to make the gaming experience more flexible.
The gaming tech world is fairly abuzz about this thing. If Sony pulls it off, not only could it give other set-top streaming devices a run for their money, but it could also end up putting a big dent into gaming industry shares held by Microsoft and Nintendo. The device will be available in two ways: The device alone for the aforementioned $100, or as part of a kit including the device, a DualShock 3 game controller, a copy of The Lego Movie: The Video Game, and an 8 GBs memory card all for about $140.
A Short History of the Device and Concept
PlayStation TV started life in late 2013, as the PS Vita TV in Japan. Gamers originally looked at it as nothing more than a novelty. The fact that it was bright white may have had something to do with that. Hoping to boost its appeal and popularity, Sony redid the packaging, making it black like most other Sony products and renamed it PlayStation TV for its international debut at E3.
What Everyone’s Saying About PlayStation TV
Everything being said by writers and reviewers about the product can be boiled down to a single sentence, “If Sony backs it with a strong and reliable network, other players in the gaming console and set-top streaming markets are in trouble.” However, since Sony’s network is known to experience serious problems from time to time, they aren’t holding their collective (We are the Borg) breaths.
The funny thing is you wouldn’t expect such an outwardly unassuming product to make this kind of a splash when jumping into the gaming and streaming pool. I mean, Sony has PlayStation 4 (a techno-marvel in itself) that came out late in 2013. There’s also Project Morpheus, Sony’s fully immersive VR headset project that gives players the feeling of being in the game, not just playing it.
Just about everything concerning this device will depend on the user’s Internet connection speed. Slow speeds equate to terrible streaming and online gaming experiences. Faster speeds make for more enjoyable online experiences, and this holds doubly true for gaming and streaming. According to Sony, under ideal conditions, the unit will be able to stream full 1080p video to your TV. You can test your Internet speed here.
Game parameters will be saved to your memory cards upon exiting the game. The problem here is that these memory sticks/cards are proprietary, unlike Wii and others, and they’re expensive. Sony also hasn’t told us anything about what’s inside the Playstation TV device or any partnerships that helped bring it to fruition.