Sony is riding a wave of success at the moment.
Its latest hardware, the PlayStation 4, has surpassed one million units sold in its first nine months on sale in the UK, and has sold over 13m consoles worldwide. It's comfortably outselling rivals Xbox One and Wii U. And next week the platform holder is bringing a new console to market. But this one is just a little bit different.
It's a micro-console called PlayStation TV. The hardware originally launched in Japan
as the PlayStation Vita TV last November and sold 42,172 units in its first week, according to Media Create data.
PlayStation TV is a brand new micro-console. I'd describe it as a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of a product, but predominantly its main feature is to stream your PlayStation 4 games to another room in the house,” PlayStation UK senior product manager Ben Law explains.
Placing your PlayStation TV in a study or bedroom and letting you stream PlayStation 4 games via Remote Play is pretty cool.
This functionality has informed the PlayStation TV's branding. Gone is the ‘Vita' present in the hardware's name as it was in Japan.
Sony announced this product originally just before Tokyo Game Show 2013, and it was released in Japan a few months prior to the launch of the PlayStation 4. Because they don't have PlayStation Now or a similar streaming service they called it PS Vita TV,” PlayStation UK PR boss David Wilson explains.
But we have a different take at this point in time because the PlayStation 4 is very well established and has done very well. So we see the device as more of an extension of the PlayStation 4. You can play Vita games, not every single Vita title because PlayStation TV doesn't have the touch screen and back panel, but compatible games can play on it.
It still has the functionality that was outlined in Japan, but the PlayStation Vita TV title was to reflect what the product meant in Japan when it launched. That's the distinction.”
The ability to stream games from your PS4 to another screen is all well and good. But a PlayStation 4 is still setting consumers back 350, and the accompanying PlayStation TV costs 84.99. But Law is confident that core gamers will buy this.
PlayStation TV is the perfect accompaniment for current PS4 owners, who have potentially owned the console for nearly 12 months,” he says.PlayStation TV is the most cost-effective route of getting access to your PS4 games in another room in the house without having to change the set up in the main room.
The device also offers a wider range of features on top of this functionality. We've already seen the impact on PS Vita when Remote Play functionality was added and we've seen from research consumers want this kind
The Remote Play functionality may be a big selling point, but PlayStation TV is actually a console in its own right.
It does a lot of other stuff as well. In addition to that main feature, you can play compatible PlayStation Vita games on a television for the first time, which is a nice feature if you're a big Vita fan as well,” says Law.
And also using the PlayStation Store you have access to old PlayStation One and PSP titles and play those on a TV. It sets itself up as a micro-console as well as a streaming platform for the PlayStation 4. As you also have access to the PlayStation Store, you can use the video services through that. You can also play Vita games from a Memory Card.
Indeed, it may not play high-end PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 games (yet) but it does play a range of top PlayStation titles.
And at the sub-100 price point of 84.99, it has the potential to speak to a mass and younger market. Maybe even the same audience that picked up the Wii all those years ago.
It definitely stacks up as entry-level hardware. It streams PlayStation 4 games, but you can also play games through the PlayStation Store,” Law says.It could actually be someone's entry into console gaming. And you also have movies, too.”
PlayStation TV is created by PlayStation,
the biggest game company in the world.
We're the first major gaming brand to
develop a micro-console, and the ability
to play PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita,
PSP, PlayStation One and indie games
makes it a really different proposition
to anything else out there.”
Ben Law -Senior Product Manager,PlayStation UK
The PlayStation TV launches at a time when a number of big companies are launching micro-consoles. Amazon recently released its Fire TV – which has game functionality – while Google has plans to bring similar hardware to stores with the Nexus Player. They have similar price points, have the same TV and film streaming capabilities, but Law believes PlayStation TV's gaming heritage gives it an edge.
PlayStation TV is created by PlayStation, the biggest game company in the world,” Law says.We're the first major gaming brand to develop a micro-console, and the ability to play PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PSP, PlayStation One and indie games makes it a really different proposition to anything else out there.”
PlayStation TV has been on a journey. It was originally positioned as a means to play some Vita games on the big screen in Japan. Now it's coming to the West, it's about playing PlayStation 4 titles in a different room of your house.
And this position will change once again next year when streaming and game rental service PlayStation Now rolls out in the UK, which will include PS3 games.
The nature of the product is that it is going to evolve over time,” Law says.People will be able to stream or rent PlayStation games from PlayStation Now. Once that service comes to the UK, it'll open up a lot of opportunities. There's no firm date on PlayStation Now in the UK yet, but there will be a beta here.
We're really excited about that proposition. It will change what we can communicate on PlayStation TV. Bur first and foremost it's about streaming your PlayStation 4 games.”