Sony breathed new life into its PlayStation Vita portable alongside the introduction of the PlayStation 4 today.
The gist of the news: The Vita can be used as a full screen and controller for your PS4, similar to what Nintendo's done with the Wii U. The idea is that you can continue to play a game on the PS4 through your Vita, even if someone needs to use the TV for something else. The only catch for now is that the two devices need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
That should make the handheld gaming device more attractive to would-be buyers who are looking for more utility from the $249 or $299 entry price, and who plan on buying Sony's upcoming console.
But smart buyers know a price drop is coming, something that could stall already tepid sales. Earlier this week Sony announced plans to cut the price of the Vita in Japan, bringing both the Wi-Fi and 3G models down to the same price in an effort to boost sales. In the past, those types of price cuts have trickled down to other markets, and such an announcement was anticipated by some today.
Since its launch in in early 2012, sales of the Vita have proven to be lackluster compared to Sony's predecessor, the PSP. In a recent interview with Famitsu magazine, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan president Hiroshi Kawano admitted that the portable gaming system still has "a ways to go," and that it was "a little behind the numbers we originally pictured," adding that the price cut was intended to make the device more accessible.
While much of the attention during today's press conference was on the PlayStation 4 -- which was not shown on stage, or given a price or release date beyond "Holiday 2013" -- the Vita got some attention. To show off the new remote play feature, the company demoed Knack, an upcoming title for the PS4 that uses streaming technology Sony acquired from Gaikai.
Sony Computer Entertainment president and group CEO Andrew House today also stressed the company's "unwavering commitment to phenomenal play experience," that would "continue to unlock the PlayStation Vita's potential." That would come in additional features arriving later this year, House teased, but he did not provide specifics.