Earlier today (Japan time) Sony held a special press conference about the future of the Playstation brand.  The biggest surprise was the unveiling of the Playstation Vita TV, a micro-sized game console (6.4cm x 10.5cm) built around the PS Vita.  Japan will get this new console by the end of the year.

Starting at only 9,954 yen (equivalent to about $100) the console is able to play every PSP and PS1 game available on the Playstation Network – about 1300 games in total – and many PS Vita games.  Not all Vita games are available because this new console doesn’t have any of the unique features of the Vita handheld, meaning it lacks a touchscreen, rear touchpad, cameras, and motion sensing capabilities.  Any game that doesn’t use any of these features can be played, and games may be re-released to be playable on the Vita TV.

It’s worth noting that the basic package (the one priced at $100) does not come with a controller.  The PS Vita TV is controlled via Dualshock 3 and users are expected to either supply their own or purchase a more expensive package that includes a controller.  This more complete package will be available on launch day for an extra $50.

Gaming is not the only thing the Vita TV is good for.  According to Sony, PS Vita TV works with a wide variety of video streaming services with a user interface designed to make it easy.  Also, with the installation of a “future system update” the console will be able to stream PS4 games.  If you have a PS4 sitting in another room and aren’t up to moving it around, the PS Vita TV can stream the games so you can play on any TV in your house.  Sony did tell us, however, that Vita TV can output a maximum resolution of 1080i.

Japanese gamers can get their hands on the unit on November 14.  The rest of us will have to wait; Sony has not specified a release date for the rest of the world.