Recently at Gamescom 2012 in Cologne, Germany, Sony announced its newest promotion in the form of Cross Buy, a program that allows gamers who purchase select Vita titles to download the PS3 version of the same game free of charge, and vice versa. Sony undoubtedly hopes that this new undertaking will help remedy the PS Vita’s lack of software since its launch. The potential for Cross Buy, however, is so much more. It could push the gaming industry towards a new way that gamers can approach their gaming habits.
If asked, choice is something most gamers would love to be given when it comes to playing video games, whether it be in the amount of titles at their disposal or how they can go about playing them. Cross Buy, and further on, Cross Functionality itself is “choice” at its deepest level. Giving people the ability to own a console and handheld version of the same game, and also allow them to pick up saves from one another, and compete online one against the other is adding new levels to how they can experience gaming.
No longer will it be a matter of “when?” When can I play Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time? When will I be back at home in front of my console to play PlayStation All-Stars, or when will I have time to pick up my Vita and get back to Ratchet and Clank? When Cross Buy takes effect, getting to play the previous titles will cease to be simply “when” and will evolve into “how,” “when,” and “where.” How do I want to play? Handheld or console? When can I play? At home? Away from the TV? Where can I play? At home? On the bus? At work on a break? On a plane ride? Cross Buy and its interactive functionality between console and handheld makes the answer to all these questions very simple: Yes!
It is true that Sony has only announced a few first party titles for Cross Buy so far, and it is no surprise that this will not be possible with every title for the PS3 and/or PS Vita (yet?). But the need for choice within gamers is strong and I believe that Sony, and more than likely, many other companies will see how great this type of interactivity can be. It is not hard to imagine more titles coming into the fray allowing gamers to grab both titles so easily and allowing cross play/saves between them. Online matches in future Call of Duty titles could be played either at home or away from the console against the same opponents. Perhaps I would like to continue my Madden season on my handheld. The season I just started at home on my console. The possibilities may not be endless, but the results of saves and online play not caring what system you play them on are exciting.
AAA retail titles are not the only games that Cross Buy could breathe new life into. Downloadable games would benefit just as much. Gamers connecting to play a few rounds of Castle Crashers on both Vita and PS3. Players competing in Marvel Pinball tournaments on both handheld and console alike. Being able to venture on through Journey on the Vita while in a cab after leaving the console at home. All it takes is giving gamers the easily accessible option of both titles at their fingertips with the cross functionality to go with it without blowing a hole in their wallets, which is exactly what the Cross Buy promotion achieves, and can push for more of in the future.
What this promotion embodies is what gamers have been crying out for years: More choice in how, when, and where we can play our games. This promotion may not rock the history books of the video game industry, but it has the chance to change the way everyone looks at their games.