|Developer||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|OS family||Unix-like (based on FreeBSD and NetBSD)|
|Source model||Closed source|
|Initial release||December 17, 2011(as 1.03)|
|Latest release||3.68 / April 10, 2018|
|Available in||Danish, German, English (United States), English (United Kingdom), Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional)|
|Update method||Direct Download
Download via PS3
Download via PC
USB drive (PS TV only)
|Default user interface||LiveArea|
|Preceded by||PlayStation Portable (system software)|
The PlayStation Vita system software is the official firmware and operating system for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV video game consoles. It uses the LiveArea as its graphical shell. The PlayStation Vita system software has one optional add-on component, the PlayStation Mobile Runtime Package. The system is built on a Unix-base which is derived from FreeBSD and NetBSD. The current version of the system software is 3.68, which was made available on April 10, 2018.
The LiveArea is the name of the graphical user interface of the PlayStation Vita system software developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The interface features a new touch-based screen and acts like a hub page and allows users to hop between different parts of the game space. The eighth-generation PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV consoles use LiveArea as the graphical shell instead of the previous XrossMediaBar (XMB) interface, which was used by Sony's seventh-generation video game consoles such as PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3. PlayStation 4, Sony's eighth-generation home video game console however uses neither LiveArea nor XrossMediaBar as its graphical shell, but rather utilizes a user interface called PlayStation Dynamic Menu.
The PlayStation Vita system software uses LiveArea as its user interface, which includes various social networking features via the PlayStation Network. Users can select the icon for a game or an application on the home screen to open the LiveArea screen for that game or application in PlayStation Vita or PlayStation TV. As a new feature of PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV's LiveArea, latest game information such as downloadable contents are shown on the LiveArea screen for that game. In addition, by scrolling down the game's LiveArea, the "Activity" of other users who are playing the same game can be checked instantly.
The PlayStation Vita (and the PlayStation TV which uses the same system software as the PlayStation Vita) supports a feature called Remote Play with Sony's home video game consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4. It allows the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 to transmit its video and audio output to a PlayStation Vita. However, unlike Remote Play between the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 4 which is well-integrated, Remote Play between the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 3 is only supported by a "select" few PS3 titles and results were often laggy. Besides, the PlayStation Vita can be used as a second screen device for the PS4 (and for PS3, but only supported by very few games such as Class of Heroes 2G) for streaming content directly from the console to the PlayStation Vita.
Also, for users having both the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 3, it is possible to share media files videos, music and images between them by transferring multimedia files directly from the PlayStation Vita to the PlayStation 3, or vice versa. Updates of the PlayStation Vita system software can also be downloaded to PS Vita devices via a PS3 system. Furthermore, a service called Cross-Buy can be used which allows players to buy certain games that support this feature one time, and play them in both Sony platforms. Minecraft and Terraria are examples of such games, and their saved worlds are transferable between the consoles. Minecraft is no longer cross buy as of February 25th 2016. 
There is also a feature called Cross-Play (or Cross-Platform Play) covering any PlayStation Vita software title that can interact with a PlayStation 3 or a PlayStation 4 software title. Different software titles use Cross-Play in different ways. For example, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a title supporting the Cross-Play feature, and the PS3 version of the game can be controlled using the PS Vita system. In addition, PS Vita users may play some PS3 games using the PlayStation Now cloud-based gaming service.
Although the PlayStation Vita console can function without any Internet connection, it will provide more functionality when it is connected to the Internet. For example, users may download updates to the system software from Internet as well as playing online when the Internet is properly connected. Additionally, with an Internet connection, the PlayStation Vita system allows users to access a variety of PlayStation Network (PSN) services such as the PlayStation Store and the PlayStation Plus subscription service, and games and other content may be purchased from these services. Applications such as the PlayStation Now app and the Live from PlayStation app, as well as various video streaming apps, also require an Internet connection to function properly.
Another application preinstalled on the PlayStation Vita at launch was "Maps," which displayed online maps when an Internet connection was available. However, it was removed by Sony via a system update, along with the "near" feature in 2015.
Like many other video game consoles, the PlayStation Vita is capable of photo, audio, and video playback in a variety of formats, and the built-in cameras can be used to take photos or videos. However, unlike Sony's home consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4, it is not possible to play Blu-ray or DVD movies on the PlayStation Vita since it lacks of an optical disc drive, or a UMD drive as with the PlayStation Portable. However, users can transfer movies in a supported format from and to a PlayStation Vita system, and there are videos for download at the PlayStation Store. Also, users can transfer content that is playing or displayed on a PlayStation Vita system to a PlayStation TV system, allowing them to view the content on their televisions instead of PS Vita screens. The following multimedia formats are supported on a PS Vita or a PS TV system:
Furthermore, there are a few entertainment applications available for download on the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita and the PS TV system. Sony announced at Gamescom 2011 applications like Netflix would become available via the PlayStation Store. Additional applications available for download include Music Unlimited,Flickr,Nico Nico, TuneIn Radio, Qello, Crunchyroll, Crackle, Hulu Plus, Redbox Instant and YouTube, although many of them are not compatible with the PS TV at launch.
Similar to the early PlayStation 3 consoles which were compatible with PlayStation 2 titles, the PlayStation Vita is backwards-compatible with most PlayStation Portable games. However, the PlayStation Vita lacks the PlayStation Portable's UMD drive,  and Sony had confirmed that PSP owners would not be able to transfer their physical UMD games across to a PS Vita system. This means that users will only be able to play PSP games on their PS Vita that they originally downloaded via the PlayStation Network rather than bought on disc. When playing a PSP game on a PS Vita system, the PS Vita's dual analog sticks are supported on PSP games; the right stick can be set to mimic either the D-pad, the left stick, the L and R buttons, or the face button cluster of the original PSP system. The graphics for PSP releases are up-scaled, with an optional bilinear filter to reduce pixelation.
Besides PlayStation Portable games, the PlayStation Vita is also backwards-compatible with the majority of titles from other platforms such as PSone Classics, PlayStation minis, and PlayStation Mobile games. PSone Classic titles were not compatible with the PS Vita at launch, but they gradually became available for the PS Vita since system software update 1.80, released on August 28, 2012. PlayStation Mobile games were originally intended to be compatible with both PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, and certain devices that run the Android operating system, but PlayStation Mobile 2.00 released in 2014 would only target PlayStation Vita and (optionally) PlayStation TV.
Other gaming platforms from Sony:
Other gaming platforms from this generation:
Other gaming platforms from the seventh generation:
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