Sony has an answer to the asymmetrical multiplayer showcased by the Wii U and Microsoft's SmartGlass technology — whether they realize it or not.
LittleBigPlanet 2's upcoming Vita Cross-Play DLC pack made its appearance in Sony's E3 press conference, but it didn't have the impact that the update may deserve. The presentation made it sound like any other Remote Play title on the console — in all actuality, it's much, much more than that.
With the Cross-Play DLC, you'll be able to use the Vita as a controller for Media Molecule's PS3 platformer, but that's the least interesting of its functions. As you build a level in the PS3 version of the game, you'll also be able to build a corresponding level on your Vita using touch controls reminiscent of Tarsier's upcoming, Vita-based LBP. Using a surprisingly simple catalog of tools, you can connect switches and prompts between the two to create ... well, just about anything you want.
For instance, one level saw three PS3 players wondering around a circular maze inside a spaceship. As they navigated the treacherous room, the Vita player flew the ship through a side-scrolling shooter level on his own screen. Events between the two were linked: As the Vita player moved the ship side-to-side, the PS3 players' maze rotated. As the Vita player wrecked into obstacles, gravity was temporarily suspended for the other players. As the PS3 players found power-ups on the ship, the Vita player's ship was bolstered with missile and laser upgrades.
In a single-player demo, I navigated a level on the PS3 using the Vita as a controller. As I traversed the level, I unlocked "Apps" for the Vita, which I could activate with a touch and change the game: A radar app let me see hidden items, a tractor beam app allowed me to drag and drop objects around the environment, a telecommunications app let me to talk to a helpful guide.
At one point in a level, I jumped in a pipe, and popped out on my Vita's screen. I navigated the traps therein and found a bounce pad which launched me upwards — and back onto the television. It was reminiscent of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, where every dungeon and cave would kick you onto your Game Boy Advance's screen. It was also similar to the gameplay experiences that the Wii U and Microsoft SmartGlass are going for.
It's worth noting: Both levels were made entirely in-game using the same tools afforded to players.
This is the second substantial DLC update LittleBigPlanet has received, and it looks just as substantial as the last. The Move Update added some neat functionality that was put to good use by the community, but the Cross-Play update might just make a bigger impact than that. It wasn't just something I've never seen in LittleBigPlanet before — it was something I've never done on a PS3 before, and arguably the coolest use of the Vita to date.