Ever since the Vita started going downhill in 2014-2015, people have been asking for a successor from Playstation. “Please, make a Vita Successor”, we clamoured. I was among those who really wanted Playstation to stay in the handheld game. But nothing doing: they were focused on PS4, PSVR and the upcoming PS5. After all, the Vita had been a “failure” (because of Sony’s own poor decision-making around it). Why make another handheld? And then the Nintendo Switch happened. It has taken the world by storm, and with it have come more desires for Playstation to give us a Vita 2. Well, Sony’s announced… something like that. But it’s exactly what I wanted from them. Let me tell you why.
I’ve been a contrarian to the Vita 2 ideology for some time, and here’s the analogy I use to explain it. Imagine there’s a child. It is the perfect child: smart, adaptable, versatile. They can do anything. There’s just one problem: they have abusive parents. So the kid’s got potential, and it’s shown again and again. But the parents keep beating the kid into the ground. They ignore it at social events, pretending it doesn’t even exist. Other people love the child, and try to help it along. But the parents’ mistreatment ends up costing the kid. with their potential wasted, they fall by the wayside.
That’s what Playstation had in the Vita, and that is what they did to it. For years, despite a fervent community and the highest attachment rate seen for some time (the amount of games each Vita owner has bought), Playstation kept trying to kill the Vita. They still do: they release updates that make it difficult to even play a game you digitally own. They constantly shut down servers for games people still play online. The list goes on and on.
And this is the company we want to release another handheld? They already had the perfect handheld and they totally botched it. Not only that, they are still actively trying to kill it.
Let It Be Done By Someone Who Cares
That’s why I’m happy about this Backbone One – Playstation Edition. It is the Vita successor Playstation actually wanted to “make”: just a rebranded controller for the iPhone. They don’t even have to support it: Backbone takes care of that. In the meantime, in the world of people who actually care about portable gaming, the Nintendo Switch is still doing record numbers. When other manufacturers would be going mad trying to cram more processing power into the form factor, Nintendo is focusing on providing support to the Switch. Heck, Mario Kart 8 is still getting new tracks! There’s a new Zelda on the way. Pokemon is getting a major mainline update following the success of Legends: Arceus.
And let’s not even talk about the Steam Deck and the whole handheld PC market. It’s bananas. There’s companies like Aya creating the Neo, Ayn creating the Odin and Loki series, the list goes on. And Steam Deck itself… well, Valve just cannot make the things fast enough to meet demand. And they have poured millions of dollars into developing the software, with stuff like Proton making gaming on Linux the stuff of dreams.
So, Playstation: keep releasing stuff like the Backbone One: Playstation Edition. Leave the real handhelds to people who actually care.