Sony to use Vita, PS3 to deliver Wii U alternative?

Game company says developers are already integrating the platforms, and more could be on the way.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Will the PlayStation Vita link up with the PS3 to take on Wii U?
Will the PlayStation Vita link up with the PS3 to take on Wii U? Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo's upcoming Wii U console may soon have a competitor from Sony.

Speaking to Develop Online in an interview, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide chief Shuhei Yoshida acknowledged rumblings about the possibility of the company's upcoming portable, PlayStation Vita, being linked with the PlayStation 3 to create a more appealing game experience.

"Already people are starting to ask about linking Vita and PS3 to do something similar, in terms of using two screens, and having controls on the screen," he told the gaming publication. "That's very interesting, and we will have to experiment."

Nintendo unveiled the Wii U at the E3 gaming expo this week. Though the console, which will launch next year, will feature improved graphics, it was the device's controller that stole the show. Sporting a 6.2-inch touch screen, the Wii U's controller can be used to interact with a game on the big set. In addition, users will be able to stop playing a game on their television and continue playing it on the controller.

Though Sony didn't necessarily have that functionality in mind with the PlayStation Vita, it's clear that its link with the PlayStation 3 could be leveraged to compete with the Wii U. The developers of Vita's upcoming Wipeout game are already integrating some PlayStation 3 functionality by letting users game online with those playing Wipeout HD Fury on the console.

But as Yoshida pointed out, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"The Wipeout team came up with their cross-play ideas, and the other Vita teams have come up with ways of playing with two systems," he told Develop Online. "It's just a matter of time, as we provide the SDKs to developers so they can make use of both PS3 and Vita, and they might come up with something interesting."

Sony's PlayStation Vita, which sports a 5-inch multitouch OLED display, will hit store shelves during the holiday season for $249 and $299 for the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi and 3G models, respectively.