When it was officially discontinued in 2019, many of us long-time Vita fans couldn’t help but envision the system’s last days. With a new patent from Sony, however, we’ve learned there might be a future in Vita with PS5 digital compatibility.
Filed on February 6, 2020, and published on August 20, this new patent shows what appears to be a range of peripherals and accessories which may be compatible with the PS5. Among these are the PSVR, keyboard and mouse, DS3 controller, and the PSP. While the Vita isn’t shown in the patent image itself, it is listed in the patent information.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate anything, as many patents are more expressions of initial interest, but it does raise some interesting questions. Taking a closer look, we want to consider why Sony might be making this move and why it could be a beneficial one for the future of Vita gaming.
Maintaining the Vita Lifespan
For most of us, the best news for the Vita would be the announcement of a new system in the portable PlayStation range, though the patent could still prove immensely helpful. The primary reason we see for this ties into system longevity. As it currently stands, the Vita is approaching a decade old. Despite having one of the longer lifespans of mobile systems, its outdated hardware means, by modern accounts, it’s obsolete.
So, what happens to the games? In the regular console cycle, games would be relegated to collectables, and this is likely to be the case for Vita physical releases. Digital games, on the other hand, can be easily tied to a user’s PSN account. If properly utilised with a PS5 backward compatibility system, this could allow games and a person’s Vita account to live on beyond the initial console’s lifespan.
This type of longevity has proven an effective backbone in other interactive entertainment opportunities which made similar system jumps. Mobile slots are a popular example of this, where the move of games like White Wizard and The Poke Guy to smartphones have kept them popular far beyond what just PC and laptop access alone could accomplish. Like with the Vita, the games would still be successful anyway on just their base systems, but this move allows them to be even more so.
There also exists the possibility that the Vita might be updated to offer free digital versions of a player’s existing games. This would likely only be for certain games which have both digital and physical copies available, but again it could play into maintaining the Vita game legacy.
In terms of emulating the Vita hardware on the PS5, this could also be an easily solvable problem. While other backwards-compatible systems like those on the PS3-PS2 were hardware-based, existing directly on a chip, modern software solutions are just as capable and far cheaper. Given Sony’s access to system code, and the overwhelming power of the PS5 and this form of backward compatibility could be a relatively simple pursuit.
Whether or not Sony does intend to build a connection between the PS5 and Vita, we might have to wait some time to find out. As our website might suggest, we’re a bit biased in how eagerly want this idea to come to pass, as great as it could be for the future of Sony handhelds. Whatever does happen, at least we still have a few years left until our Vita’s start to degrade, so let’s make the most of them.