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Is PS Vita/PS3 cross-platform a wet dream?

9:00 AM on 12.17.2012 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

PS Vita positioned once more as a Wii U alternative

On the PlayStation Vita's first birthday, Sony has been touting the benefits of the underdog handheld, chiefly claiming that the PS3/PS Vita cross-platform feature needs further exploitation. It was also heavily implied that the company may look to entice some Wii U exclusives over to the Sony camp. 

"We're only now starting to understand the potential of both devices working together," Sony XDev producer Tom O'Connor told CVG"Cross-controller gives publishers an extra option. There will be some games that are being developed for other dual-screen platforms, though I can't name any names, and we can allow that to be possible on PS3. That gives publishers more multiplatform opportunities.

O'Connor added that Sony is in talks with third parties to bring over content that uses the Vita/PS3 controller options, adding that, "We definitely need more than one game to flaunt the Cross-Controller functionality."

It's all good in theory, but with the PS Vita's retail struggles, it's going to be hard to encourage publishers to support the system on its own, let alone make games like ZombiU that would require both the Vita and PS3.

Sony has talked for a long time about "opportunities" with the PS Vita, but opportunities aren't a selling point when nobody's willing to take them. So far, the only notable recent cross-platform release has been PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and that hardly makes a case for the Vita's ability to reproduce some of the gameplay already seen on Wii U. Convince Ubisoft to actually bring over ZombiU as a PS3/Vita game, and we might actually see some promise behind the promises.

While the Vita may technically be able to do what the Wii U GamePad can do, it's just not a realistic prospect that will attract developers. For a start, it requires consumers purchase two consoles instead of one, before there are enough games worth doing that for. Not to mention, I don't trust Sony when it comes to making platforms work elegantly together, given the often laggy and roundabout nature of any new feature it ever implements. It's all very well claiming your two machines have the potential to do what Nintendo's doing, but those claims mean nothing when Sony's done very little to put such ideas into practice, and seems unable to do so at a competitive level. 

This seems to be Sony's favorite tactic though -- talk a big game about what can be done with its machines, then do next to nothing to lead the charge and actually show us what can be done. Until Sony gets off its ass and starts building a library of PS3 games designed for PlayStation Vita control, all of its talk on the subject equates a big lot of nothing, and I'll remain convinced that the whole, "We can do what Wii U can do" patter is little more than spineless lip service. 

Ever since E3 of this year, Sony's been trying to position the PS Vita as a potential adversary to the Wii U GamePad, but it's taken relatively few steps to make such suggestions a reality. It had an opportunity to do so while the Wii U was waiting to launch, but it took no initiative to undermine Nintendo while it had the chance. The PS Vita doesn't need "more than one game" to flaunt this feature -- it needed it. Months ago. 

Then again, it also needed a price cut and less expensive proprietary memory cards, but that's Sony for you. It thinks it's Apple, and can get away with what Apple gets away with. 

I hope it wakes up from that wet dream soon.




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Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

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