In Part One I focused on the hardware differences, stacking up the PS4 against Xbox One and also PC. Part Two covered software and gaming differences. In this final section I will cover off Vita integration for the PS4.
After resisting the temptation for the last two years, I finally purchased PlayStation Vita to compliment my PS4. I’ve always considered the Vita as a bit of a white elephant. Like the PSP before it, I never found myself in a situation where I wouldn’t look a bit odd playing it in public. Whilst Japanese businessmen in their forties may feel at ease hunched over a tiny screen, I always felt a bit too self-conscious. At least when I’m playing games on my Samsung Galaxy tablet it looks like I’m doing some serious business.
With the PS4 the Vita comes into its own. Dismissing all that second screen business, which an Xbox 360 and Xbox One can do on a tablet or a mobile phone; the PS4/Vita’s Remote Play actually gives the little handheld a rather unique and useful role.
I tried Remote Play with the PS3 on a PSP and it was a bit lacking. Apart from a few PSOne games nothing worked on it. As I had no desire to wander around the house playing Final Fantasy III, I didn’t see the point in it.
With the PS4 and a PS Vita, you can actually play a PS4 game on the go by streaming to the PS4 display to the handheld device. This means that if the TV gets taken over by the family you can continue to play using the Vita’s 5-inch screen.
From a technical point of view this works fine over your local wireless network, although if I strayed too far from the router the picture would break up a bit. In theory it should also work over the internet as well, but I was never able to get a decent enough connection to my PS4 via Sydney’s 4G network via my tablet.
If, however, you find the Vita’s tiny screen and little controls difficult, you may find playing a PS4 game designed for a huge TV and a controller with four more buttons hard work. Still Remote Play with a PS4 using a Vita works, locally at least. It’s also pretty cool seeing such hi-res graphics on a handheld device.
With all these gaming options, all these devices, we‘ve never been more spoilt for choice. So where does the PlayStation 4 sit in this new gaming landscape of ours?
With the PC being an office machine-come-elitist gaming device and the Xbox One being a family entertainment center, the PS4 is what the PlayStation brand was devised to be: a video game console.
Right at this moment in time there’s no doubt in my mind that the PS4 is a better games console than the Xbox One. That being said, the Xbox One with its media features, is a better all-in-one entertainment center than the PS4. Even so, a decent spec’d PC (barring driver issues etc.) will beat both systems when it comes to versatility and playing games.
It’s a rather unique situation in that the three main devices that we are looking at: the PC, the Xbox One and the PS4 are not really competing with one another. Microsoft’s media aspirations have been pretty well publicised, and that is the direction that I can see the Xbox One going; actually just as they said when they first announced the machine.
Sony’s pitch that the PS4 is a games console built for gamers by gamers seems to be ringing true as well. And the PC, well, it’s a PC and it’ll still be there on my desk, humming in the background and using up far too much electricity.
So it all depends on what you want; the superb gaming potential of a PS4, the family-centric entertainment center that is the Xbox One or the expensive gaming power-house that is the PC.
No matter what system you choose, it’ll open up a world of possibilities. It’s never been a better time to be a gamer.