How Sony Plans To Win The Entertainment War

How Sony Plans To Win The Entertainment War

It’s no secret that companies affiliated with video games want to extend the reach of their consoles. It’s not a bad idea either. Be a gamer’s one stop shop for all of their media needs and they’ll never leave their console’s side. They’ll use your handhelds and mobile applications and whatever the hell else you invent to help access their devices as best as it lets them.

Microsoft has been pitching the Xbox One as its “all in one” device pretty much since the reveal of its next-gen gaming machine. Meanwhile Sony has been all too happy to emphasise its dedication to games. But look close enough — and consider the latest reveal of the Vita TV — and you’ll see they have similar intentions. They want you using the PS4. They want your attention just as much as any company trying to sell new hardware should.

Here’s Kotaku reader Raiju’s explanation on how Sony is attempting to woo you into their carefully constructed entertainment world:

Sony’s Attempt to “Win” Your Entertainment World

While Microsoft has publicly been trying to win the living room for years, Sony has started an a far subtler attempt to win almost everything you do with entertainment media. It truly began with PS3/PSP remote play, but this generation they’re bringing out the big guns with PS4/Vita remote play and the recently announced Vita TV.

Why the Vita TV is a great move

Sony’s Attempt to “Win” Your Entertainment World Vita TV is an attempt to get consumers to buy into an entire ecosystem. Once you own one Sony game device, you gain greater benefits from choosing further Sony game devices rather than competing devices. And Vita TV is an extremely attractively priced console. It’s a great entry level console for casual gamers, a perfect replacement or complement for grandma’s Wii, or a gift for children whose parents aren’t quite ready to shell out for $300-500 consoles or a $200 handheld.

Furthermore, the games for the Vita TV are relatively low priced, with older PS1 and PSP titles being as little as $5 and even brand new Vita games still coming in cheaper than new Wii U, PS3, or 360 titles.

Marketed correctly, this is a console that could very well sell like hotcakes all by itself.

But there’s really more to it than that. It’s not only marketed to casuals and those without a console. It’s also there to lure in current Sony customers. Just like a PS4 owner will be tempted to get a Vita for the remote play possibilities, a Vita TV adds value to a PS4 or, to a lesser extent, Vita for a relatively cheap price tag. A person who owns a PS4 is likely to buy a Vita TV instead of an Apple TV or Roku. They get all the benefits of that device, a cheap console, and the ability to play their PS4 games on two different TVs without having to move the PS4 around the home. A Vita owner gains the ability to play co-op or head to head against a player on the Vita TV, the ability to play some of their portable games on the television, and the ability to stream videos (and possibly games) from their Vita to the television.

Playstation Plus

Sony’s paid online service is another example of how Sony is concentrating on offering products that are useful on their own, but add more value the more Sony products that you own. Playstation Plus gives you plenty of benefits with a single device: “free” games, extra features, online play (as of the PS4 going forward), and early bird access to some betas, DLC, and demos.

Add that to two devices, and you’re getting twice as many “free” games in addition to early access to more content. If they allow a third device with the advent of the Vita TV, you can share the ability to play online multiplayer among all your devices with a single PS+ account. The value of the product goes up while the price remains the same.

How remote play fits in

The more devices Sony includes in this ecosystem, the more attractive it becomes. The Vita TV and PS4 combo is tempting all by itself, but the whole package of Vita, Vita TV, and PS4 is when the advantages they’re trying to sell you really shine through.

Sony is giving you a way to access their games and apps from any TV in your house, without hassle (one hopes). But they’re also letting you take all of that on the road in the form of the Vita. From the handheld, you get even more Vita games and the ability to play your PS4 games away from from the TV so long as you have WiFi access. Whether it’s your bathroom break or lunch break at work, they’re trying to cover all your entertainment needs.

All you have to do is give Sony all your money. And it won’t even seem like much, because each component of the ecosystem is pretty competitively priced by itself. But if you want one of each, you’ll be shelling out $700 before games. Add in PS+, and you’re looking at a yearly fee of $50 (or a little less, if you’re a savvy shopper). And if you have more than two TVs and want additional Vita TVs, or extra Vitas for the kids? Well, let’s just say that a Skylanders addiction is starting to look cheap in comparison.

What it means for the future

If this ploy is successful, expect to see this sort of interconnectivity in other Sony devices. Your Sony laptop might be able to interact with your PS4, Vita, or Vita TV in new and interesting ways. Your Sony smart TV might be able to stream video or even games from your PS4 or Vita. Who knows, we might even see the revival of the Playstation phone, with the ability to play games from your PSN library and interface with your other Sony brand devices. This could grow far beyond just game devices, touching every entertainment device in your home.

While it’s unlikely that any one manufacturer will ever truly “win” your home, this multipronged attack seems like it’s got the potential to come much closer than previous attempts. Gamers and consumers today have multiple televisions. They want to play their games in bed, on the couch, in the bathroom, and on the bus. They are multiple gamers living together in one home, passing the hobby from one generation to the next. A single device under a single TV, no matter how fully featured, is never going to “win” at everything the modern consumer does. But maybe a multitude of interconnected devices could.


  • Though it’s understandable it is still a shame that Vita TV won’t be able to play games that use the touchscreen such as Gravity Rush. I am however rather looking forward to being able to play Persona 4 Golden on my TV.

    • I reckon the ps4 controllwr touch pad will fix this. So instead of usings a ps3 controller with Vita TV.

      • It really won’t though. Touchscreen controls stop working well when you remove the image from the screen you’re touching, precision and context become impossible. Also won’t solve the issues of having a rear touchpad too.

        • Rear touchpad controls recalibrated to R2 and L2 triggers; front touchpad still remains.

          Wouldn’t be too hard.

          • That removes precision of touch, and even if you had a configuration where holding R2/L2 makes it input as the rear touchpad, it still removes all sense of context. Touch controls only really work if the thing you’re touching is right there in front of you, not up on a different screen at a different size.
            Which is the other issue, the touchpad is way too small to replicate the front screen of the Vita even remotely well.

            Just to clarify I’m not calling this a bad product, I’m just saying that without a Vita as a controller touch controls won’t work properly (and if you have a Vita as a controller you might as well just be playing it on your Vita).

          • I think you misunderstood. Instead of using back touch you calibrate the buttons to L2/R2. Not that many vita games have touch controls as specific as you’re mentioning. Most are general touch.

          • I understood, I addressed it, and then suggested an alternative and the reason why that also wouldn’t work.
            For clarity:
            “That removes precision of touch,”
            In reference to the originally suggested control scheme…
            “and even if you had a configuration where holding R2/L2 makes it input as the rear touchpad”
            … the alternative, and…
            “it still removes all sense of context.”
            … why it won’t work.

            If it renders some of your library unplayable then it’s not a good enough solution, in my opinion. Besides, as I keep saying, the biggest issue is not the lack of touch options but the implementation of them on another surface and why that breaks the experience.

          • Well, if you want to get antsy about it, as I said: there are few games that require that amount of context for touch input. It’s pretty much a general “touch in two places for (something)” or for the back touchpad, pressing one half or the other. Coincidentally, a function WHICH COULD BE COMPENSATED FOR WITH L2/R2. So hey, stop being so negative. This was a pretty good idea on Sony’s part.

    • No I’m sorry playstation and Sony will not woo me at all firstly I have been Sony loyal until the ps3, paid $1000 only for Xbox to have all the exclusives we used to have and more aaa titles then the terrible Sixaxis controller and ds3, poor voice chat too

      Then the whole psvita garbage with almost less game range than the WiiU 🙁 so no I don’t think ill waste money on Psvita Tv because a fully fledged game console should do the trick, and I’m not sold on the ps4 because they boast they are all about games but they have barely any good AAA exclusives and the controller for ps4 is a gimmicky piece of crap like the PSvita

  • Remote play is possible right now on the PS3/PSP etc. You can do it across any network (internal/internet) why is just now being touted as new and exciting?

    I can’t even get a decent stream on youtube/twitch; how am I meant to get a PS4 game up and running?

  • While it seems pretty clear what Sony are attempting – there’s a little bit of optimistic stretching in there.

    Vita TV a perfect replacement for Grandma’s Wii (eew) ?

    Sure – except she probably bought the Wii for Wii Sports, which there’s no real comparable title for on Vita, PsP or Ps1 – with motion controls. And the fact if she wants to buy a physical game – she has to make sure she chooses a physical title that actually works on Vita Tv (as plenty don’t). So she can buy games online – but most ps1/psp titles lack the fidelity visually of her old Wii and the motion controls she liked – and once you explain that she has to go out and buy some special Vita memory cards (no gran, you can’t use the memory cards from your camera, or the mspd from your Sony camera, or your USB sticks – just these pricey vita ones, that you’ll need to buy at least an 8gb per 2-3 Vita games you download). But wait gran! There’s these minis titles or PS mobile titles that are cheap and small and just like the ones on your cheap smartphone, but on a TV! For a few dollars more! Grandmas were snatching up ouyas like there was no tomorrow right?

    Absolutely Sony devotees will get a Vita TV. Even if only to stream ps4 games ( with slight input lag) or Vita games. But the same way Sony revealed most Vita sales were to existing ps3 owners – its another hymnbook for members of the choir. Attracting casual gamers? Besides the price (which lets face it – isn’t much less than a 12gb ps3, once you’ve factored the ds3 and memory card bundle in is what – %25 cheaper? To play Vita games?). What Vita titles ( vita tv compatible ones anyway) are designed to bring the casuals in? Hot Shots Golf.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think Vita was the best platform to base your casual box around. Time will tell if there’s really any mass market – blue ocean appeal to this. But personally I’d be looking into a ps3, ps4 or psVita purchase before this – and if the appeal is to the subset of customers already invested in your platform – well I guess that’s the antithesis of the market they hope to reach with this.

    Its a standalone product, but really only useful as an accessory to existing devices. I’d be very surprised if it succeeds. So surprise me!

  • A lot of people are saying this a white elephant of sorts, but this makes sense. I have moved in to the Sony fold only in the last year, but I can see one of these ending up in front of one of the other TVs in my household being used as a media player (if they come up with that functionality) and streaming the PS3 and PS4 to that TV.

  • Sony is showing people value in the product, letting the price speak for itself. Different people like the Vita TV for different reasons, but you’ll almost always hear that its low price is a driving factor in its appeal. In terms of living room domination, I think Sony is just covering all the bases and making sure there is a synergy between its different products, rather than making an explicit play like MS is doing.

  • In a similar vein:

    I bought a year’s access to Music Unlimited, as it was discounted to next to nothing for PS+ members a while ago.

    I can now stream that through my Bravia (it has SEN functionality), my Xperia Z (bought primarily due to the last phone getting waterlogged), and any computer/laptop. For a streaming “rented” access to Sony/BMG’s entire music back catalogue, it’s a service I love to use.

    I’ll be renewing it at whatever the regular price is, unless I get a discount.

    As soon as I have a better net connection, I’d be certainly looking into Video Unlimited and renting/streaming movies from there rather than going down to the local rental shop.

    I have other Sony products, and it’s very. very, very easy to suddenly find yourself well and truly bought in to the ecosystem without trying.

    I have a PS3, a Vita, and will be getting a PS4. I’d buy the hell out of a VitaTV – why? Because being able to stream the PS4 to a different TV in the house, or bring it with me when travelling for work to stream over the net sounds amazing.

    …I just need them to release the PS4 version of PlayTV. I use that a lot.

  • ok i think the Vita TV is great.
    2 things concern me about it though.
    First, does it output at 1080P? while i know the games themselves wont be, id at least expect the interface and video playback to be at this resolution.
    secondly can we please use USB media on this thing. support for the vita memory cards makes sense so i can transfer between the TV and the handheld but i would LOVE the ability to store all my vita games on this thing (instead of my PS3) and then transfer them to the vita memory card through this device. i have a 32GB card and it is full. managing files is a huge pain in the ass on vita, this could have helped a lot

    i can understand the memory cards for the vita, yes they are proprietary and expensive but at least a memory card is required due to the portable nature. that is not the case for the vita TV

  • This is how you win the entertainment war. Provide choices so attractive that people want to buy it. Don’t force it on them. I hope this pans out for Sony.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!