Until Vita, most every non-exclusive handheld game was a unique version of its console counterpart. With processing and graphical power than can near-match consoles, however, we’ve seen near-identical Vita ports of console games instead of unique adaptions. While a great development in many respects, it created a situation for those who’ve purchased the console version: why buy the same game twice?
Cross Play has been neat, but spending $100 for one game spread across two handhelds was unrealistic. Sony has been forward-thinking enough to solve this problem before it became a serious issue. With “Cross Buy”, revealed at GamesCom, those who buy first-party PS3 titles will receive the Vita version for free. Cross Buy is a great development that not only makes Cross Play a near-revelation, but instantly makes PS3 games with the feature a must-buy for Vita owners — giving reason to choose the PS3 version over 360.
Vita owners can finally feel confident knowing they won’t have to ignore their handheld in favor of the console version. Cross Play combined with Cross Buy turns the Vita into a natural PS3 extension. Instead of having to buy multiple games and worry if they will sync correctly, PS3/Vita owners can simply reap the benefits of being able to play the latest title anywhere. If Cross Play is accepted by third party developers, the Vita may be worth-owning regardless of if you ever buy a game for it. After all, why be playing two games when you could be playing the same game wherever you are?
The program will kick off with Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale and continue with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Ratchet & Clank: QForce. If third-party reception is warm, Cross Buy could make Vita the game changer it’s always been touted as.