Even though Vita Player is a site dedicated to all things related to the PlayStation Vita, we know that not everyone visiting the site owns one of Sony’s wonder consoles. There are some of you visiting the site who are considering buying one of the handhelds, whether it’s to compliment your existing gaming set up or for some of you who are PlayStation 4 owners, thinking about buying one to take advantage of the console’s Remote Play capabilities. However, with the advent of the PlayStation TV at a considerably lower retail price than the PS Vita, for some of you the choice as to which system to opt for is no longer as clear-cut as it once was.
So we thought that it was time to take a comparative look at both machines side-by-side to help you make an informed decision as to which of the two consoles is the right buy for you (or both depending on your gaming interests) so you can take your first steps into the world of PlayStation Vita gaming…
On the surface the PlayStation TV looks like an incredible bargain in comparison to the PS Vita. Even when stores are running promotions on the Vita, there is still a massive price void between the two systems but you need to delve deeper to look into the associated costs more closely. By default, neither console comes complete with a memory card although they do have 1Gb of internal storage each. However, this is woefully inadequate and can barely store more than a couple of games and surprisingly is unable to be used when additional storage is used making the memory redundant. In both cases, an additional memory card is an essential day one purchase.
When it comes to the PlayStation TV while it does have built-in wi-fi to connect to your home network (as does the PS Vita) I would strongly recommend using an ethernet cable instead. Not only will this offer better performance but also makes the initial set up far less stressful and time consuming. Cost wise, this is negligible as I managed to source a branded Belkin cable for mine from Poundland of all places!
The big drawback for the PlayStation TV is the need for a controller. Even if you opt for a third-party DualShock 3 controller you will be looking at an additional £20+ rising to £50-£60 if you decide to use a DualShock 4 (bearing in mind that this doesn’t come with a charging lead). Suddenly the PS Vita doesn’t look too expensive an option…
A no brainer on this one. Despite the fact that the PlayStation TV is smaller than a boxed PS Vita game, it’s useless without anything to plug into. If gaming on the go is important to you then there really is only one choice. However, if you’re only interested in playing games at home then the PlayStation TV offers an exceptional experience when it comes to playing some of the best PS Vita games on the big screen. There are many games that – once you’ve played them on a TV screen – you’ll really be reluctant to go back to playing them on a 5″ screen again.
Sony’s marketing for the PlayStation TV is focusing on Remote Play rather than it’s performance as a PS Vita so the question has to be asked how important is it for you to be able to play PS4 games elsewhere? There are two aspects to Remote Play to consider – where you want to play and what your home networking set-up is. Naturally, the PS Vita can be used away from home for Remote Play and some gamers have reported that – with the right remote set-up – Remote Play can be used thousands of miles away from home playing via the internet. The majority of us won’t want to play that way though and it’s most likely to be used at home. Some of them remind of immersive adventures found at: www.lockbustersgame.com.
Connecting wirelessly through your home router in both cases is dependent on the signal strength in your house, and where the two separate rooms are located although the PS Vita’s wi-fi capabilities do have the edge over the PlayStation TV in this respect. It is generally recommended to connect the two consoles directly via wi-fi to improve performance but the PlayStation TV can go one step further when it comes to performance connecting directly to your router using an ethernet cable. If it’s speed you want then with the right set-up, it will offer the best Remote Play performance.
You will need a second television using the PlayStation TV but that will give you a better gaming experience anyway plus you have the added benefit of using a full DualShock 4 controller rather than re-mapped controls to the PS Vita’s touchscreen / touchpad making for a more natural gaming experience. For longer gaming sessions, it’s certainly more comfortable as well.
Both consoles can play a huge range of titles, far more than many people realise. Despite the poor showing at retail, the PS Vita has access to well in excess of 1,000 games right now – “native” PS Vita games released at retail and downloadable from the PSN Store, over 350 PlayStation Mobile titles, all of the titles in the Minis range, plus several hundred more emulated PS One and PSP games.
The PlayStation TV is well supported but not quite as strongly. Even though it is still a PlayStation Vita under the hood, because it is lacking some of the Vita’s core hardware (the camera, motion sensors and touch controls), many games aren’t compatible but there is still an impressive line-up. A lot of the early PS Vita releases were designed to make use of the Vita’s capabilities and as such these don’t work but there are a lot of great games that do.
We’re checking the entire PS Vita range to save you all the trouble of finding out if your favourite titles are PlayStation TV compatible to help you make the choice but out of the 450+ we’ve check already there’s a fantastic selection to keep even the most hardened gamer happy. If you want access to everything then you need a Vita but even with a PlayStation TV you won’t be too disappointed. Check out our PlayStation TV Games Compatibility Guide.
Both the PlayStation TV and PS Vita are equally matched when it comes to support for older games with only a small handful of the classics collection available from the PlayStation Store not running on the PSTV so there’s little to choose from between the two machines. However, for those gamers who grew up with the PS One, loved old arcade classics or other retro consoles, the PlayStation TV really wins hands down. While the games still play well enough on the PS Vita, playing games like the Sega Megadrive Collection on the big screen brings back memories perfectly for those of you who used to own a MegaDrive back in the 90s, just like PS One classics like Final Fantasy VII and this is exactly how those games should be played.
The PS Vita has been criticised for it’s lack of media players since it was launched and apart from just a handful of apps, there’s very little to speak of. Unfortunately, the PlayStation TV – despite its name – suffers even more so with just TuneIn Radio and LiveTweet to its name in addition to the integrated music, picture and video players. While videos look great playing at 720p on a TV screen, it’s a rather lacklustre affair right now.
I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but no matter what controller grips you use for the PS Vita it’s never going to be as comfortable to use as a DualShock 3 or DualShock 4 for extended use. If you’re looking for a gaming system for short sessions of play for an hour or so then the Vita will be ideal but if you think that you may be playing games for longer then the appeal of the DS3 or DS4 may well be the deciding factor.
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Overall it really is a tough decision for those of you making your first foray into the world of PlayStation Vita gaming. If you’re thinking of buying a console primarily for gaming on the go or to access the full diverse range of games that the Vita has to offer then the choice really has to be the Vita itself but if you just want to experience a mix of games, coupled with access to Remote Play but prefer games on a TV screen then you may find a PlayStation TV more to your liking.
If you can afford both then you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds and with the ability to use the same memory cards on both machines sharing the same PlayStation Network account you can play games on the big screen and then continue them on the move… what more could you ask for?