Sony’s PlayStation home consoles have been absolute smash-hits over their 25-year history, with the PlayStation 4 already selling more than 100 million units and the brand winning a Guinness World Record for its achievements. That same reception was not found with its handheld system the PlayStation Vita, however, and it looks like the little portable powerhouse will never be getting a successor.
Speaking to Game Informer as part of a cover story on the brand’s 25th anniversary, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan was by no means vague about Sony’s potential handheld console plans: There are none.
“PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but clearly it’s a business we’re no longer in,” Ryan said.
The Vita struggled to make much of an impact right out of the gate when it launched in 2012, but unlike Nintendo’s 3DS, it never really managed to regain its footing. This is despite a rather excellent lineup of games during its early days, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Tearaway, Killzone: Mercenary, Dragon’s Crown, and Gravity Rush.
These started to dwindle, however, and the system was left more as an indie and third-party Japanese games machine. Sony eventually started marketing it as a companion system to the PS4 because of its Remote Play functionality, but this wasn’t very successful either. Its touchscreen and rear touchpad could replace certain functions of a controller, such as the L2 and R2 buttons, but it wasn’t the ideal way to play anything complex and few games were optimized to make use of the Vita’s features properly.
In some ways, Nintendo managed to effectively replace the Vita with its Switch, which has also found a home for plenty of independent developers as well as major AAA publishers. The primary difference is that Nintendo is not splitting its user-base between two different consoles at this point, whereas Sony still has a dedicated home console to which it devoted most of its resources. Unless Sony ever goes the Switch route and makes a hybrid console, you can pretty much guarantee that its days of handheld gaming are behind it.
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