ps4vitaSony’s Playstation Vita has struggled a little bit—at least in comparison to Nintendo’s 3DS—due to a hefty price, lack of killer apps and the explosion of smartphone gaming. Of course, that doesn’t mean the device is bad—the technology, at least for a portable, is quite astounding. And nowhere is that on display more with the PS4 – Vita cross functionality. In fact, Sony is pushing this feature so hard that they’re offering discounts in the UK for gamers who pick up both Playstation 4 and Vita consoles.

No word yet on whether this will carry over to other territories, but these bundles—dubbed by Sony as “the Ultimate Bundle”—make one thing clear: despite the critics, the company remains committed to their portable console. The Vita can be used as a second controller for some PS4 games, including EA Sports’ 2014 lineup, although that seems to be a pricy alternative to the DualShock 4. And while there are various titles where the Vita can be used as a second screen—something similar to the Wii U’s gamepad—what probably excites gamers the most is the prospect of Remote Play. Remote Play was originally introduced on the Playstation 3 for use with the PSP (and, later on, the Vita)—the feature, however, was seldom used or even discussed. All PS1 titles purchased via the PSN Store were compatible with Remote Play, thus allowing gamers to play them on the go, provided they had Wi-Fi; however, very few notable modern titles, save a few PSN games like the PixelJunk series, were compatible with the feature. Sony, however, has mandated that all PS4 titles, with the exception of Move and Playstation Camera centric games, be compatible with Remote Play.

So what is Remote Play, exactly? Essentially, Remote Play streams the Playstation 4’s video and audio feed to the Vita, allowing console games—think Killzone: Shadow Fall—to be played on the portable. The company recommends that you have the PS4 hardwired to the internet for best performance, and that both devices—PS4 and Vita—are on the same Wi-Fi network. Essentially, the Playstation Vita acts as a mirror for the action on-screen, displaying the same content and game as on its bigger brother. This means that Remote Play can be activated quickly and easily. And then, you use the Vita to control the game—which can prove a little hairy, given its single analogue stick, but developers have come up with clever solutions.

What’s the point of this, if it only really works within the confines of your home network? Well, if you’re anyone who’s ever had to share TV space with a sibling, roommate or significant other, you’ll understand that sometimes you can’t wait to finish Killzone: Shadow Fall until after they’re done watching their marathon of NCIS. Thus, everyone wins: they get to see their shows, and you get to kill some bad guys. However, it should be noted that Remote Play, at least in its nascent stages, has some technical issues. You need a blazing fast Wi-Fi network for the games to play well on the Vita; a better solution, however, is to choose “direct link” from the Remote Play options, which bypasses your home network entirely. This is, of course, still wireless, but the communication doesn’t go through your router—just your Vita and PS4 are talking.

Surprisingly, this is much faster, bypassing the middleman. This, of course, means that your Vita and PS4 must be within wireless range of each other—so those with hopes of playing Knack on the roof of their home, far away from their PS4’s signal in the basement, may be disappointed. If you stay within your own home, however—it’s simply not realistic to play high intensity PS4 titles via a remote connection—Remote Play is a nifty feature, and one that will no doubt grow more robust and feature-rich in the future, given Sony’s commitment to it.

The holiday season is the perfect time to pick up a Vita for your PS4. The Walking Dead Vita Bundle is one of the best deals out there right now, many of us who got rid of our Vitas are wishing we didn’t! Also recently there has been a leak in Europe that a PlayStation 4 + Vita Bundlewill be available, it might be one of the best opportunities to get your PS4 before the holidays. Keep a look out in December for this product.

PlayStation 4 Slim (1TB) PS4 Hits Console Bundle includes God Of War, GT Sport, Uncharted 4 (Import Version)

  • This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box

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