Playstation TV released recently as Sony’s answer to the other home devices that the company felt were usurping their content-filled Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and Vita family. However, the infrastructure seems to be disappointing to more than one early adopter, and one of the main features of the device, streaming classic games, does not seem to be stable enough to consistently operate. While this device has been praised for its compact size and integration of all things Sony, there are some design decisions that make the device less attractive from the inside out.
On the inside, Playstation TV has been touted as a powerful, spacious machine. The included 1 GB of storage is useful for classic titles and the accumulation of smaller file sizes. However, downloading and playing larger Vita and PSP games such as BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend, 3.2 GB, and Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, over a GB, is simply impossible without either buying the games separately or purchasing extra memory cards to accommodate the spillage. On top of that, no controller comes with the device, meaning another possible purchase to even access the content. This adds to the $99 Playstation TV price tag out of the box, pushing it to well over $150 if there are no bundles available.
The Playstation TV, in conjunction with Sony’s other systems, uses the Playstation Now method of game rental, doling out blocks of time for users to play a specific title. The problem is that some of the rental period prices are more expensive than the games represented, meaning players are paying more for the convenience of an unreliable streaming service. As an example, the Playstation 3 title Infamous is currently available for a 90 day period at a rate of $14.99, but is available at local retailers for less than $10 in most cases. For those that are looking for a short preview of a game, this would be a fine service should the streaming be reliable, but the early launch woes of most devices have struck Playstation TV as well. The Now service’s misappropriation of rental values is highlighted by this early stability failure.
Another common gripe of the disappointing launch of Playstation TV revolves around the lack of second and third-party streaming services. Popular portals such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu are absent as of launch. Certain high-profile games are not supported on Sony’s new platform as of yet either. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Tearaway have yet to be acclimated to the device, leaving it devoid of the biggest Vita titles on the market.
Overall, the Playstation TV seems to be a risky proposition for those without a Sony home console, and an unneeded expense for those that do. The library of PS One and PSP titles is tempting, but the need to pay and wait for a stable connection seems to be driving people away at launch. With the television device market currently flooded, Playstation TV does not seem to have put enough focus and emphasis on the one feature that sets it apart from the rest: games.
Opinion by Myles Gann