Despite having been launched during the PS3 era, Sony’s PS Vita is technically an 8th-generation console. As a result, it can pair with both the PS3 and PS4. But certain features supported between the Vita and PS3 aren’t supported between the Vita and PS4.
Do PS Vita games work on PS4? No, it won’t. Unless it is a cross-buy game, it won’t work on PS4 and you will have to purchase separate copies for both consoles. Cross-buy titles can be purchased on either the Vita or PS4 and will show up in the library of both consoles.
In the first two to three years of the PS4’s life, some AAA games were cross-buy. So you could purchase them once, and they would be available on both the Vita and PS4 (your saves would also carry over). However, this stopped being the case around 2016 and new cross-buy games are very rare.
Do PS Vita Games Work On PS4?
Only if a game is cross-buy, and there is a list of every such game within the EU region. Cross-buy support varies from region to region, but it isn’t that different for US Vita owners. The list contains over 380 games, which seems nice on the surface.
But when you read through it, most of these are low-budget indie titles. And there’s a good reason for that- PS Vita simply isn’t powerful enough to run modern AAA PS4 titles. A lot of the early AAA cross-buy titles were either platformers or ports of PS3 JRPGs.
As the years went on, only indie titles were released with cross-buy support. Meaning that you purchased them on one PSN account, and they would be available for download on both your Vita and PS4. Cross-buy titles generally support cloud saves across both consoles, so your game progress carries over when you switch between Vita and PS4.
Some games are cross-platform, so you can play them on Vita as well as PS4. But they are not cross-buy, and you have to make two separate purchases- one for each console. Then, you have games that are cross-buy but don’t support cross-save (game progress isn’t shared between Vita and PS4).
Cross-buy games don’t have the same codebase. You just get the PS4 version for free when you purchase the Vita version (and vice versa). To get the benefits of cross-buy, both your Vita and PS4 must be signed into the same PSN account.
Can PS Vita Be Played On PS5?
As far as I am aware, there is no cross-buy support between Vita and PS5. Sony officially discontinued the Vita in March 2019, more than a year before the PS5’s launch. They have no reason to update the PS Vita’s software so it can work with the PS5.
Besides, it’s not like game developers are enthusiastic about releasing their latest projects on an obsolete handheld console that is significantly weaker than the PS5. Even indie games on PS5 won’t be able to run on Vita unless they are ports of old PS3/ PS4 games. Speaking of cross-buy, it is supported between the PS4 and PS5.
So your entire PS4 library carries over to PS5 if you sign in with the same account. Whether you have a physical or digital copy of your PS4 game, it will run on the PS5 with zero issues (some even have enhanced modes for better framerates). If you have PlayStation Plus, all your cloud saves will also carry over from PS4 to PS5.
The PlayStation TV
Like many others, you probably don’t remember that Sony tried to create a rival to Apple TV/ Roku (and failed spectacularly at it). The PlayStation TV is basically a Vita with no touchscreen and onboard controls. It is a set-top box for your TV that uses a Vita motherboard and supports DualShock 3/ DualShock 4 controllers.
Designed so people could play their Vita library on the big screen, PS TV includes HDMI output and can accept Vita cartridges + memory cards. Here’s the issue- it supports only a tiny fraction of the Vita library because there is no touchscreen or trackpad. And many games that are supported play poorly because you’re using a DualShock controller instead of Vita controls.
In theory, the PS TV was a streaming box that could play PS Vita games. However, it did a poor job of playing games and wasn’t very good at streaming movies or shows. Sony discontinued the PS TV in 2015, just 2 years after its release (imagine how bad the sales must have been).
Linking Your PS4 And PS Vita With Remote Play
If you own a Vita and PS4, you can link the two using a feature called Remote Play. It lets you play your PS4 games on Vita, but you’ll need a fairly good internet connection on both ends. That’s because your Vita isn’t processing any of the game code, it’s just decompressing the video stream from your PS4 and providing a mobile display.
Cross Buy Games For PS Vita
When you see a game that supports cross-buy on PS4, it means you don’t have to purchase a separate copy for your Vita. You purchase it once and use a free code to download another copy on your Vita. Those who have a PlayStation Plus membership can also use cloud saves for the same game on both consoles.
Will Sony Make A PS Vita Successor?
Sony is officially not interested in making another portable handheld. You might be wondering why that’s the case since handheld gaming is the most popular it has ever been. Well, Nintendo and Sony take very different approaches to handheld gaming.
Nintendo does a way better job of creating unique hardware features and designing its first-party software around these features. Sony treats handheld consoles as an alternative to mobile phones. And that’s why the Vita failed- it tried too hard to be a smartphone alternative and had no identity of its own.
I hope this article helped you understand how PS Vita games can work on PS4. Playing your PS4 library on Vita is easy with Remote Play, as long as you have a decent internet connection and don’t mind a bit of input lag. But making it work the other way around is very hard, and only certain cross-buy titles play on both consoles.