Gravity Rush is a great game for Vita--but it could be done on PS3 as well
Instead of trying to one-up what Nintendo and Apple are doing, Sony should look elsewhere for inspiration: the cloud. Cloud-based services have taken off over the past few years, and are likely to expand even further as the technology gets better. Even if you haven't used OnLive or Gaikai, the appeal is certainly there: being able to carry your digital library with you, regardless of where you are or what device you're using. I attribute Netflix's growth partly to its cloud functionality: I can start watching an episode of Breaking Bad at home. Then, I can continue watching from where I left off while I'm on the bus. I can finish the episode when I'm at home on a tablet. I'm far more willing to pony up for a subscription, knowing that my access isn't restricted to just one device. The PlayStation ecosystem has been the most embracing of that philosophy among the big three. Certain games, like Minis and PSone classics, will be transferable across PS3, PSP, and Vita. And because these games are running natively on the platform (versus cloud-based services), there's no bandwidth or latency concerns involved. Sony has shown some signs of embracing a platform-agnostic approach to its content. Games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will launch on both Vita and PS3 simultaneously. But that's simply not enough. Without having a single purchase unlock both versions, Sony has given us little reason to value the Vita experience--and that's the problem. Why should I pay an extra $40-50 to have a lesser version of a console experience? No wonder the Vita library invites such disappointment. But what if Sony treated the Vita version not as a separate SKU, but as an extension of the PS3 experience? The PlayStation Network could be like Netflix: I pay for one copy of Sly Cooper, and play it wherever and however I want. And, like I do with Netflix every month, I'm willing to pay a subscription fee to consume the content I want in the manner I choose. Maybe next time I'm on the bus, I'll want to play a few rounds of PlayStation All-Stars, instead of watching another episode of Breaking Bad--and that's something that no other handheld device can offer right now. By becoming a portable PS3, Sony can offer an experience that Nintendo, Microsoft, nor Apple can do--and that's what makes for a genuinely unique offering.