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Sony files patent for new handheld that looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch

Why it matters to you

Even with the PS Vita's lackluster sales performance, Sony might still take another crack at the handheld gaming market.

For gamers who are in love with their PS Vita’s there might be hope for the future.

Sony has filed a patent for what looks to be a new portable handheld system, and it looks like it has taken quite a few design cues from the Nintendo Switch.

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NeoGAF user ponpo is the one who spotted the patent. It was apparently filed in 2015, but has just recently become public.

It certainly doesn’t look as elegant as a PS Vita, but it does trade sleek design for a greater ergonomic feel. What it does look like is some sort of tablet device that’s sitting in a controller mount. It actually looks most similar to the Gamepad Controller for the Razer Edge Pro Gaming Tablet. While the tablet might also resemble a phone, the patent photos suggest very little if any parts are removable.

This patent comes as a major surprise to Sony handheld fans. Especially after head of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, confirmed in 2015 that with the advent of mobile phones, the climate for dedicated gaming handhelds was not healthy.

While the PS Vita is beloved for its treasure trove of obscure Japanese titles, it hasn’t sold particularly well. Since its release in late 2011 in Japan, the PS Vita has sold a total of 15.25 million units. That’s a far cry from Sony’s previous handheld, the PlayStation Portable, which sold 80.82 million units. Even compared to the Nintendo 3DS, with 63.82 million units sold, the PS Vita has not kept pace.

If Sony were to release this handheld, it would also invariably be compared to Nintendo’s next console/handheld hybrid, the Switch. With so much positive buzz and excitement around the Switch, it may be hard for Sony to carve out a slice of an already highly competitive mobile market pie.