Sony: Use Vita as a PS3 controller

Remote, Continuation, Cross-platform play.

You could use PlayStation Vita as a controller for PS3 games, Sony has revealed.

This Wii U-like capability was explained by Sony Europe R&D manager Phil Rogers at the Develop Conference 2011.

"What could you do with all of this?" Rogers asked a room of developers and Eurogamer. "Here's a few boring technical ideas: you could drive a display from a PS3 game, for example.

"PS3 can send data down to Vita and Vita can display it. You could use the unique features [of Vita] - gyroscope, touch front and back - as a control device for a PS3 game.

"You can run software on both devices and use the network to sync the game states. And that's pretty good, because you then have the processing power of PS3 doing that work, Vita [doing] fancy graphics - however you want to do it. You're not sacrificing the PS3's CPU to be able to have a rich experience on Vita."

Rogers said this was "a fairly new idea", and encouraged developers to talk to Sony if they have any ideas for it. "Most of the time we'll be OK with it," he said.

Another thing Vita can do is cross-platform play. This was demonstrated with WipEout 2048 on Vita talking to a bespoke compatible build of WipEout HD on PS3. The two games connected via PSN and, after a lengthy wait for the Vita version to load, worked together seamlessly. The PS3 version had a visibly higher frame-rate and was the better looking of the two games, although the difference at a glance was minimal.

Rogers mentioned that pool game Hustle Kings will also support cross-platform play. He also confirmed Vita Remote Play support for platform launch, whenever that will be.

"At launch we're going to have some PSN features that work across both platforms."

Phil Rogers, manager, Sony Europe R&D

"At launch we're going to have some PSN features that work across both platforms," said Rogers. "You could access data on each side and access scoreboards, for example. We're building on that.

"Obviously we had to bring certain things on and make sure that servers work against all the features and it doesn't break the PS3 experience, because there's a lot of PS3 users.

"For launch we'll also have Remote Play, which does look good on Vita - I saw an early version of it running recently."

Remote Play allows the Vita to receive encoded video output in real-time from PS3.

One of the more ambitious and alluring PS Vita capabilities is called Continuation Play. This allows a PS3 game to be played and then taken on the move on PS Vita.

"We have a system called Title User Storage, which allows 1MB of data on our servers for games," explained Rogers. "And that can be accessed on both platforms; you can access that same data.

"You can save your game on PS3, go over to Vita, pull that data back and swap it between them, so you can play a game at home, take it on the train and continue."

"You can save your game on PS3, go over to Vita, pull that data back and ... take it on the train and continue."

Phil Rogers

Rogers said Ruin, a Diablo-like action RPG, was the only announced PS Vita game that currently uses Continuation Play. "But there's probably a few that we've seen via the support site that we can't talk about," he teased.

"The feature is there," he added. "We've told developers that you can use Title User Storage to push the game data across."

The connection between PS Vita and PS3 will be handled via Wi-Fi and through the PlayStation Network.

"The important thing to note, and people always forget this, is that the Network exists; you don't need fancy cables, you don't need to have that there," said Rogers. "You're connected over an access point; send IP to each other - it just works.

"We did support USB, but [there's] not really much more point for that - wireless is fairly decent."

Further down the line, Rogers said developers will be able to retroactively patch-in support for Vita in existing PS3 games.

He also said Sony was making a concerted effort to encourage developers to use these new ideas arriving with PlayStation Vita.

"There's a push from our third-party team for encouraging licensees to be having those features [cross-platform, continuation play] in game," he said.

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