With the PlayStation 4, unlike the PlayStation 3 before it, Remote Play functionality on Vita is handled on a system level. Though Sony's asking developers to take into account the Vita's different button setup and additional input mechanisms that the portable console has, the actual act of enabling Remote Play is handled by the PlayStation 4 itself. "On PlayStation4 , it just happens. You just make a PS4 game, it supports Remote Play," Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida told us in an interview at E3.
We'd asked whether Sony's "mandating" Remote Play functionality from developers, and Yoshida first explained how it worked on the PlayStation 3 to offer some context. "The single biggest issue, why there are not many PlayStation 3 games that support Remote Play, was that it was optional -- the system didn't do much. The game has to set aside some memory or CPU to be able to do that, and usually, memory is the most precious resource that [development] teams fight amongst each other for. So when it comes down to the priorities, these are features that are very easy to drop," he told us. The idea with PS4 is that, by offloading responsibility for Remote Play support to the console itself, developers are freed up to make the control tweaks necessary for a comfy experience playing a PS4 game remotely on Vita.
"Please make sure that when you play your games on Vita, the control is good. That's the minimum thing we're asking them to do," he added. All that said, not every single PlayStation 4 game will work with Remote Play -- "Maybe not Just Dance," Yoshida offered with a laugh when we asked. That's a pretty reasonable exception if you ask us, and it sounds like only games that require the PS4 Eye or Move (or some other such input method that's impossible to emulate on Vita) are on that excepted list.
We also discussed the difference in approach that the PlayStation 4 is taking from Xbox One. With the latter console, Microsoft's including its (in)famous Kinect camera in every retail box -- a move that puts the One a cool $100 over PlayStation 4 at $500, but offers Microsoft's Kinect ubiquity in consumer homes, whereas Sony's PS4 Eye is a peripheral sold separately. Yoshida's not convinced that Microsoft's natural user interface focus is the right move. "As far as I'm concerned, personally, my view is it's still early days of development in terms of [NUI] tech," he said. "It's not really mature enough to be able to really be taken advantage of by all types of games and all kinds of consumers, so that's a decision that we made."
Sadly he was less definitive on the PlayStation 4's Japanese launch. Thus far, the PS4 has a "holiday 2013" launch window in North America and Europe, but the company's home country is still a big question mark. "We have a plan to specifically curate the information for the Japanese people later this year," Yoshida said. "Sometime between now and Tokyo Game Show [in September], I'd say." Hold tight, Japan-based PlayStation fans!
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