IT SEEMS the question of whether Nintendo's latest console and the upcoming Sony handheld are direct competitors has been answered.
The Playstation Vita, tipped for release this October, will have the capability to double up as a controller for its bigger high definition (HD) brother, the Playstation 3 (PS3). This development places it almost directly in line with the Wii U joypad. Both devices also have large touchscreens, analogue joysticks, built-in accelerometers, gyroscopes, speakers, front-facing cameras and microphones.
It's unclear whether it was his intention to mimic the Wii U's E3 announcement presentation, but speaking at the 2011 Develop Conference last month, Sony Europe R&D manager Phil Rogers certainly appeared to be reading from the same page as Nintendo's US president Reggie Fils-Aime.
According to Eurogamer, while reading off a list of "boring" technical facts Rogers said, "You could drive a display from a PS3 game, for example. The PS3 can send data down to Vita and Vita can display it. You could use the unique features [of Vita] - gyroscope, touch front and back - as a control device for a PS3 game."
"You can run software on both devices and use the network to sync the game states. And that's pretty good, because you then have the processing power of PS3 doing that work, Vita [doing] fancy graphics - however you want to do it. You're not sacrificing the PS3's CPU to be able to have a rich experience on Vita."
Amazingly, cross-platform play is also a possibility. Loading up Wipeout 2048 on a Vita and Wipeout HD on a PS3, Rogers showed how the two systems connect over the Playstation Network and allow simultaneous play of the two games on very different systems. According to Rogers, Hustle Kings will also support this cross-platform experience on launch.
Remote Play, a system of watching video output from the PS3 on the Vita, will feature alongside a bolder development known as Continuation Play, whereby a gamer will be able to start playing a title on the PS3 then take the game on the move using Vita.
"We have a system called Title User Storage, which allows 1MB of data on our servers for games. And that can be accessed on both platforms; you can access that same data. You can save your game on PS3, go over to Vita, pull that data back and swap it between them, so you can play a game at home, take it on the train and continue."
So far, the role playing game Ruin is the only other title announced as supporting Continuation Play, but with so many ports constantly being released, how long will it be before we see people continuing their game of Batman: Arkham City on the bus?
All this certainly represents a nod to the capabilities of the Wii U teased at this year's E3 Expo. Is this just another example of the other consoles' reactionary approach to Nintendo's innovation or genuine creative thinking from Sony? Discuss. µ
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