The competition for next-gen domination is at a peak, and differentiation will decide which console company makes the top of the list. Surely, each side has its definitive factor for some people, but the one feature that will really take the cake is the Remote Play that's coming with the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita. Together, these pieces of hardware look to finally make gaming in all forms a possibility in any location, which gives gamers the choice to sit on the couch, sit at a friend's house who doesn't have a TV, or even sit on the throne--it's 2013, everybody does it.
Let's face it: every time we've read "Cross-Platform" up to this point, we've come to realize that some limitation is in place to keep it from living up to its complete potential, because having to create two games side by side with different development boundaries obviously has its drawbacks, which include both hardware and financing. Let's not forget, as consumers, that downloading and managing saves are more things that we really don't want to do, so these features with the most potential in the world are hindered by extra tedious management; sure, the early games ended up having two trophy sets, but now developers are going more towards a unified list for both versions, wrecking everyone's day.
Remote Play has been a dying twinkle in gamer eyes since the PS3 launched, when the PlayStation Portable and the concept were brand new and without hindsight. Limited only to media playback, gamers watched as their game library was in sight of their portable but completely out of reach. That initial concept, which was limited by the PSP hardware, is now validated, and the PS4 is the key to its success. Instead of requiring the PS Vita to load and process the games, the PS4 now handles everything outside of player interaction, which is exactly what a handheld needs to function with a feature like Remote Play. This truth finally came into vision during GamesCom, when the Ubisoft representatives quickly went from playing Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on the PS4 to playing via Remote Play on the PS Vita.
The PS Vita has caught its fair share of flack, but Remote Play will make the portable's slow stream of titles feel much more substantial. Instead of being a device all its own that plays unique games, the PS Vita will also take players home to their PS4s, extending their accessibility far beyond what normal portable devices can muster: genuine console gaming.
Gone are the days of multiple game downloads, add-on management, and accessing transferable saves from clouds. Developers no longer need to double develop, and consumers no longer need to micromanage their transactions in order to use them how they wish, and gamers no longer need to care if future add-on content will be Cross-Buy or not, since only one copy will ever have to be purchased. Many titles releasing in the next full year have already announced versions for both the PS4 and PS Vita, but the true vision that Sony saw in late 2006 has reached its fruition, and, after the PS4 becomes the only kid on Sony's block in a couple years, I'm confident that developers will utilize Remote Play to its truest functionality.