The PlayStation Vita may not be as useful as many gamers had originally hoped.
The PlayStation Vita mobile gaming console won't work as an additional controller for the upcoming PlayStation 4 console except in cases where a game has been "specifically programmed" to support the device, a Sony representative recently clarified on Twitter.
Responding to tweeted question asking whether Vita was compatibility with the PS4, Computer Entertainment President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, explained how the PS Vita would work (or, rather, not work).
"In a normal sense, no," Yoshida wrote. "Unless a game is specifically programmed to allow such use of PS Vita." Rather making the PS4 compatible with Vita straight out of the box, Sony developers would need to take that extra step to "specifically program" the Vita for any given game.
That's disappointing news for Vita owners hoping to save on the $60 Sony will charge for each additional DualShock controller they'll need to play PS4 games with friends and family. (The new PS4 comes with just one controller.)
What's more, it's a lost opportunity for the Vita. Ever since the PlayStation Vita was first released in early 2012, Sony's newest mobile gaming console has proven to be an impressive (and expensive ) little gadget with an unclear purpose — not enough games to convince many gamers to spend upwards of $250, and little in the way of Sony's many heralded "cross-play" features that promise to bridge the gap between PlayStation's mobile and TV-based worlds.
A powerful bargaining chip that Sony has always left on the table for prospective Vita fans, however, is the mobile device's imminent integration with the brave new world of the PlayStation. The company consistently promised that the Vita will be able to play almost every single PS4 game, provided that it's within streaming distance of the home console and the software doesn't require anything special like the PlayStation Camera to run.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: Yannick.LeJacq@nbcuni.com.
First published July 29 2013, 11:01 AM