The most significant change in the new PS Vita firmware is the addition of an app called "PS4 Link," Sony announced on its blog.
As the name suggests, PS4 Link enables the PS Vita to connect to the new PlayStation console for Remote Play and second screen purposes.
Remote Play lets users stream PS4 games to the handheld console over Wi-Fi, while for some games the PS Vita can act as a second screen, turning it into a touch controller, a map, and more.
The main purpose of today's PS Vita update was to ready the handheld for the PS4's launch. But the update changed plenty of other things about the PS Vita, some big and some small.
For one, it added parental controls and a panoramic photo setting to the PS Vita's options.
The Friends app has been improved in anticipation of the PS4's newly expanded friends list.
Other apps, like Group Messaging and Party, had their icons and/or names altered slightly, and gained new functions like the ability for PS Vita users to voice and text chat with PS4 users, and to send messages to users with the PlayStation app installed on their mobile devices.
The icon and name of the existing Remote Play app have been changed to reflect that it's now for PS3 Remote Play only, since PS4 Remote Play will be handled from the new PS4 Link application.
But the PS Vita can now more easily connect to PS3 consoles, as the Content Manager app now works over Wi-Fi.
Lastly, PS4 trophies are now viewable on the PS Vita, and Vita users can choose to have future software updates downloaded automatically.
Feeling young again
The PS Vita has so far not been the most successful handheld gaming system in history, but it's about to get a new lease on life with the PlayStation 4's release.
Features like Remote Play were underused during the PS3 generation, but that will change now that virtually every PS4 game will be compatible with it.
And second screen functions will make the Vita an attractive option for excited PS4 buyers who want their console to emulate some of the Wii U's two-screen gimmicks.
Yet the PS Vita is too expensive to be sold as simply a PS4 accessory, and that means it needs good games, an area Sony could definitely stand to improve in.
Hopefully we'll see more good PS Vita games get announced next year at E3, especially if Vita sales ramp up with the PS4 launch.
- Check out our up-to-date PS4 review
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