Sony advertises the PS3 / PS Vita cross-play compatibility as a key feature of certain games, including upcoming title PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, and recently released When Vikings Attack, but the feature is far from perfect. The PS3 and PS Vita systems are quite different and run different operating systems, which means not everything works as it should.
Lets break down the differences to see where the problems lie, and how Sony can fix them to give gamers a better cross-platform experience.
The invite system which uses the PlayStation Network is different across the two consoles. For one, the PS3 uses subjects and messages, much like email, but the PS Vita only has a message field, similar to chat clients. This means messages sent from the PS Vita to the PS3 have the subject missing. This was recently fixed by Sony by having part of the message show up in place of the subject.
Another issue with Invites is attachments. The PS Vita sends game invites as attachments with the message, but these attachments don’t work with the PS3, and vice versa. When playing When Vikings Attack on the PS Vita, I wanted to send a invite to a friend playing on the PS3. However, once received, my friend was unable to even see the invite. Instead, they received a blank message and as a result was not able to join my game.
The only way to cross-play with a PS3 user was to create a public game and hope my friend is able to see and join it. It did mean that I also got random players joining my game, but I was able to kick them from the room. When PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal is released later this month, the same issue will affect the game, unless an internal invite system is included in the game.
Sony should really make the two systems compatible, or change their advertising so that customers are aware that cross-platform invites are not compatible with the games.
Another area where the PS3 and PS Vita aren’t compatible is with viewing online status of friends. Being the newer system, the PS Vita is able to see friends that are using Vita’s or PS3s, but the same isn’t true for the PS3. On the PS3, users that are using the PS Vita appear offline, even if you are currently playing a cross-platform game with them.
Furthermore, the “last seen” counter doesn’t work with PS Vita users either. Some of my friends only have a PS Vita, but the “last seen” counter is empty on my PS3, indicating the user has never signed-in to the PlayStation Network. Something that is completely incorrect, since they have to sign-in at least once to accept friend requests.
It would be nice to see what friends are currently playing on their PS Vita’s as well as show when the user is online / offline correctly. Hopefully, Sony is already looking into this issue and will fix it in the next firmware update. It took Sony a few months to get PS Vita trophies working on the PS3, so this shouldn’t be right up there on their todo list.