If you’re a video gamer, you might be getting your thumbs ready for Sony’s PlayStation TV, a new and relatively affordable micro console debuting Tuesday, Oct. 14, starting at $99.99.
This small black box connects to your television’s HDMI port and lets you play games in one of three ways: popping in compatible PlayStation Vita (PSVita) game cards on the side of the unit; accessing the online PlayStation Store to download compatible PSVita games and classic PlayStation games (including PS One and PSP titles); or renting PlayStation 3 games through the PlayStation Now gaming service.
But you already knew all this, you say?
No problem, we’ve got more deets.
USA TODAY caught up with Don Mesa, director of platform marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America in San Mateo, Calif., to share a few lesser-known facts and features of this new hardware.
When you rent full console games over the Internet through the PlayStation Now service, you’ll stream the content to your PlayStation TV box — just like you’d watch a Netflix movie or play songs though Pandora.
“You’ll get access to a library of PlayStation 3 games, without the need to drive to the store or wait for the game to download,” explains Mesa. “Just hit play, and get right into the game.”
Along with the highly-anticipated game God of War Ascension, PlayStation Now offers more than 150 games, including popular third-party titles such as Capcom’s Ultra Street Fighter IV.
Prices vary, but games can be played for as low as a $1/day on a weekly rental.
Note: PlayStation Now is also available on PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and select Sony TVs.
PUSH TO PS4
Living room TV tied up? You can stream PS4 games to a different room in the house.
“If you’re a PS4 owner, use the Remote Play feature to stream a PS4 game from your console to a PS TV through your home network,” says Mesa. “So, if the living room is tied up, just use Remote Play to send your PS4 game up to the bedroom and keep playing on PS TV.”
All PS4 games support Remote Play unless it requires a special peripheral, such as the PlayStation Move motion controller or PlayStation Eye camera.
Remote Play can also be used to push PS4 games to a PSVita portable gaming console.
PS TV supports many kid-friendly games, including Minecraft and LEGO Movie The Videogame, so it’s an ideal option for families with children.
PS TV also offers parental controls that let mom or dad manage the console use by time and day, gameplay by ESRB [Entertainment Software Rating Board] recommended age rating, and block in-store purchases.
Speaking of LEGO Movie The Videogame, PlayStation TV is also available in a PlayStation TV bundle ($139.99), which includes the PlayStation TV system, DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controller, 8GB memory card and a game voucher for Warner Bros.’ hit LEGO game.
PlayStation Plus members ($49.99/year) will be pleased to know they can access their account on PS TV, with no added costs.
“For those of you who already have a membership for PS4, PS3 or PS Vita, it’ll transfer over to PS TV — which means the PS Plus benefits, including any compatible PS Vita games you get from the Instant Game Collection, can also be used on your PS TV,” says Mesa.
PlayStation Plus members get access to a rotating collection of free titles every month. In October, this includes indie titles Pix the Cat and Rainbow Moon.
Inferior game controllers are one of the biggest pain points in most set-top box gaming systems (like Ouya).
PS TV, however, is compatible with both DUALSHOCK 4 (bundled with PS4 console) and DUALSHOCK 3 (PS3) wireless controllers, so you’ll have the flexibility of choosing either one for your gaming session.
If you’re a seasoned PlayStation gamer, perhaps you’ve got a spare controller in a drawer you’re not currently using?
JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM
A few other details:
• Under the hood, PS TV is very similar to a PS Vita. It’s powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PowerVR SGX543MP4+ graphics unit and 512MB of RAM (system memory). Along with HDMI, PS TV also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and Ethernet.
• In Japan, PS TV has been sold under another name: Vita TV. Unlike the all-black PS TV, Vita TV is a white machine, which launched in late 2013.
• This is the first time gamers outside of Japan can play PSVita titles on a big-screen TV. Not all games are supported — especially if they require the PSVita’s touch-screen, gyroscope or camera — but most games will work on PS TV.
• PlayStation is releasing custom themes for PS TV, allowing you to change the background and icons. Three will be available for free at launch — Crystal, Four Seasons and Stitching — and some themes in the future will be tied to games, such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tearaway and Freedom Wars.
• PS TV also offers entertainment content, with movies and TV shows available to buy or rent from PlayStation Store.
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