Sony’s latest gaming hardware product, the PlayStation TV, received a release date announcement Monday, months after its official E3 reveal this summer. Starting October 14, fans in the US can purchase the hardware alone for $99 or purchase a “bundle” that includes a DualShock 3 controller, an 8GB memory card, and a free copy of The LEGO Movie video game for $40 more.
Launched in Japan almost a year ago as the Vita TV, the PlayStation TV essentially doubles as a Vita system that plugs into your HDTV. Like the Vita, the system can play both physical and downloaded Vita games (along with PS1 titles and other fares sold through PlayStation Network). It can also serve as a PlayStation 4 streaming device via the Remote Play feature, and it supports the PlayStation Now streaming service, which sends PlayStation 3 games to your hardware via the cloud.
One of the limitations of PSTV is the lack of touch, mic, and motion support for Vita games, as neither the DualShock 3 nor DualShock 4 emulate Vita’s features perfectly, meaning that Vita-exclusive highlights such as Tear off are essentially unplayable (and other games’ touch support requires some fiddly joystick click-and-aim movements to mimic the Vita’s taps). And while Vita games are upscaled to 720p resolution on the PlayStation TV, so are Vita video apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus. This limits them compared to the 1080p set-top competition.
Even with those issues, it’s hard to think of a set-top box that currently has a gaming marketplace like the PlayStation Network, especially with its Vita-specific push for indie games.
Update: We originally reported that the PlayStation TV requires a DualShock 3 controller; it turns out that Sony has announced that the DualShock 4 will also run on the new hardware. However, the list of supported games confirms that titles such as Tear off will indeed not work on PlayStation TV.