PlayStation has confirmed that the company is no longer in the business of making handheld consoles. This news puts an end to any hope of a possible PS Vita successor, a console that failed to catch the public’s attention as much as its predecessor, the PSP, had.
Speaking to Game Informer as part of a feature celebrating the 25th anniversary of PlayStation, recently installed CEO Jim Ryan spoke about the failed handheld and confirmed that the company had no plans to create handhelds in the future. On the subject of the Vita, Ryan lamented the promise the console held.
PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but it’s a business that we’re no longer in now.
Mobile Gaming Killed PlayStation’s Handheld Console Business
The PS Vita is a sore subject for the console manufacturer. Released at the tale-end of the 7th generation, the Vita pushed the limits of what a handheld console could achieve. Unfortunately, the console lacked an identity and, as such, lacked any reason to buy it. Developers ignored it for the most part, reducing the titles available on the platform. Combined with the cost, which was only compounded by the outrageous prices of memory cards (required due to the console’s tiny 1GB storage memory), and it was bound to fail.
Ryan also credits the rise of mobile gaming as an attributing factor to the PS Vita’s downfall. Why spend hundreds on a new console with inferior games, when you can download free games onto a device you already own? Many customers agreed with this. When Sony officially announced that the console would be discontinued, it had sold only 10-15 million units. Real numbers aren’t known, but if we look at the sales of the original PSP (80 – 82 million), it becomes clear why PlayStation would be uncomfortable publicising its failure.
The future of PlayStation looks to be focused firmly on the possibilities of streaming and increased digitisation. Nintendo, on the other hand, has managed to dominate the handheld console market for well over a decade now, including their most recent console, the Switch Lite. PlayStation’s exit from the handheld market may be sad news for some, but ultimately, this feels like the best move for the platform.