The PlayStation Vita is the most technically capable handheld gaming system available today, but if former Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton is to be believed, the system never had a chance of success in today’s gaming climate.
Speaking to IGN during its monthly “Unfiltered” show, Tretton emphasized that though the Vita’s technical specifications — an OLED screen, two thumbsticks, and a touchscreen, along with a powerful processor, to name a few features — were head-and-shoulders above the competition, it simply released at a time when few people wanted a dedicated handheld gaming system.
“I think PSP was incredibly successful and I loved what it did. I thought it brought a console-like experience and it brought genres to an older gamer that typically didn’t have console-like games to play on a portable platform. But Vita was a nice machine at a time when very few people felt like they needed a dedicated portable device.”
The PlayStation Vita, as well as its sister system, the PlayStation TV, did not meet Sony’s sales expectations from the time it originally launched in 2012, and the console has become almost non-existent in Sony’s press conferences. The Vita only seems to get love from indie developers, particularly through the PlayStation Plus program, which gives Vita owners two free games a month. Sony has abandoned first-party development on the system, with executive Shuhei Yoshida admitting that a successor to the handheld was unlikely.
If you haven’t picked up a Vita yet, however, there are still several fantastic titles that you’re missing out on. Uncharted: Golden Abyss puts Nathan Drake’s mountain climbing and bad-guy shooting into the palm of your hand, and the original version of Tearaway makes excellent use of the system’s unique hardware. Just stay far, far away from Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified — it’s abysmal.