Vita, PS3 holiday bundle considered by Sony

Developers are hesitant with Sony's handheld
Developers are hesitant with Sony's handheld

Reports indicate that Sony may bundle together both its PS3 and PS Vita systems for the holiday season.

PlayStation UK Managing Director Fergal Gara hinted that the two systems could be bundled together, telling CVG in an interview "we'd have nothing against that whatsoever. And it's not out of the question that we would do that this Christmas if we wanted to."

"We put together packages for retail, and there's no reason why we shouldn't create a 'Vita plus PS3' bundle, which could feature games that use cross-play, as well as include a PlayStation Plus subscription that both devices could use."

The console and handheld have a range of connectivity features, most notably with certain cross-play compatible games, such as Sound Shapes and the upcoming PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Cross play across devices

When purchasing a cross-play compatible game on either PS3 or Vita, users are entitled to a free download of the game on the other system, with the ability to share saved progress between the two versions.

The Vita also supports the remote play feature on PS3, allowing the handheld to be used as a controller in games like LittleBigPlanet 2 or for full PS3 games to be played on the Vita screen when connected via Wi-Fi.

While a holiday bundle of both systems would certainly promote the Vita's cross-play features with the PS3, it also represents a greater issue facing the new handheld.

Sony lacking developer support

Cross-play is one of the Vita's biggest features, yet Sony is simultaneously encouraging third-party developers not to simply release ports of their PS3 games for the system, for fear of replicating the game stagnation that hurt PSP sales.

The result is a confused perception of the Vita's role in the industry and less developer support than Sony expected.

"One thing that was surprising and disappointing to us was the [lower] number of third parties to come out [in support] after launch," Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida told Gamasutra.

"In retrospect, there are so many options for publishers now that we cannot take it for granted that our new platform would be supported by third parties, like [it would've been] many years ago."

The Vita is marketed as both a touchscreen handheld device and a mobile console experience. That mixed message created confusion among gamers, which isn't helped by the perceived lack of new games that would normally define the Vita's role.

A Vita/PS3 hardware bundle could help define the Vita, but that definition would be as a handheld supplement to consoles.

It's a definition that has hurt Sony in the past, and could drive developers further away as they shift focus to the growing smartphone and tablet markets.

Via CVG, Gamasutra