Even though fans have asked for one for the last few years, Sony Interactive Entertainment have stated categorically that they have no plans to release a PS Vita 2. But were the electronics giant ever to change their mind, I doubt I’d be one of their customers this time around. So what’s changed with Sony so I wouldn’t buy a PS Vita 2?
Since the release of the original Vita, other companies have stepped up their game. We’ve now got a range of credible options available when it comes to handheld gaming. For many looking for a handheld option, despite its age the Nintendo Switch has proven itself to be a perfect successor to the Vita. Firstly It boasts an extensive range of indie games, including many PS Vita favourites. For a lot of Vita owners, this became one of the console’s strengths in its final years.
But it’s also home to a wealth of superb first party games and major IPs with no signs of slowdown for new games. While it doesn’t have the power of the PS4 or XBox One, let alone the PS5 / XBox Series X, it’s got enough performance under the hood to deliver some great games. And with the advantage of using MicroSD storage, capacity won’t be an issue either.
And more recently, Steam have jumped into the picture with the Steam Deck. The handheld gaming PC may not be up to the same specs that hardcore gamers might be looking for, but the appeal of a gaming console that can access your Steam library has immense appeal.
Sony haven’t made any effort to hide the fact that they’ve held the Vita in disdain for some time. The lack of marketing and gradual withdrawal of support over the years clearly demonstrated that. But what has probably caused more frustration than anything else recently is the revamped PlayStation Plus. While it’s understandable that Sony were going to phase out support for older systems, what disappointed most was the legacy support with the premium tiers the new system offered.
It was obvious that we weren’t going to get any new PS Vita games, or any by way of Cross Buy support as only relatively recent PS4 titles were going to be offered as part of the service. But when it came to legacy titles – either as streaming or downloads – every single PlayStation format was being represented apart from the Vita. No reason has ever been given for this but if Sony can ignore one of their most recent hardware release so easily, it doesn’t bode well for any other devices.
It has been said that PlayStation Mobile was something of a disaster. The bite-sized gaming platform – in theory at least – showed great potential. A standard format allowing games to run on any PSM compliant platform meaning that a large number of mobile devices and the PS Vita could access a huge library of games. The system was easy to develop for and with entry level requirements to achieve developer status, it opened up the PlayStation eco system to new developers. It had some technical limitations, but amongst the weak titles released, there were some superb games, certainly enough for us to be able create a Top 25 PlayStation Mobile list!
As was the case with anything connected with the Vita, it was poorly executed. Games were seldom promoted on the store, it offered no leaderboard or trophy support (earning it criticism from die-hard PlayStation fans), and communication between Sony and its developers was non-existent. When the service was finally closed down, little notice was given, but of more concern games were removed from Sony’s servers completely so those who had purchased them were no longer able to re-download them. What was seen by many as the successor to the Minis turned out to be a wasted opportunity.
It’s been a long standing argument regarding the Vita’s failure, but any system that is reliant on digital downloads as the Vita did needs affordable storage. It’s actually a problem that is plaguing PS5 owners right now with the console barely capable of storing a handful of AAA titles before running our of space. But the Vita’s issue wasn’t one of space, but cost. Using non-standard memory cards made them ridiculously expensive compared to their rivals.
Unfortunately, it’s an area where Sony seem to be consistently problematic. The PSP’s use of the Memory Stick Pro Duo didn’t help the system when almost every other device opted for cheaper alternatives. But when the Vita took that a stage further with dedicated memory cards many simply avoided the console completely. Using proprietary cards simply meant that there was no competition when it came to the manufacturing of the cards. No competition gave Sony a monopoly in terms of pricing. And when you need the cards it’s an expensive extra to factor in.
Both Nintendo and Steam have taken this into consideration shipping their systems with some integrated storage but again Sony dropped the ball.
Hardware manufacturers can’t force developers to write games for any platform and it’s not fair to blame them for a lack of games for their system. However, they can encourage or support developers/publishers to convert existing titles or promote their major releases. But apart from the first couple of years, Sony lost interest with the Vita. It seemed that it wasn’t the huge success they wanted it to be as quickly as it should have been so it was quickly discarded.
Shiny New Things
Unfortunately, as a tech giant, Sony seem to love new toys. When the PS4 was released, all their attention shifted towards that. Whether it was marketing, development budgets, the stores on the consoles themselves – every aspect of the work Sony did moved towards the PS4 and started to stagnate on the Vita. Even when the PlayStation TV was released, that was marketed as a PS4 add-on and very little reference was made to it being a PS Vita and having access to a library of over 1,000 games.
As a Vita owner, it became incredibly disheartening to see a company abandon its customers so quickly and not only that but to see Vita displays disappear from stores… at the request of Sony themselves.
Lack Of Faith
I’ll be honest, I absolutely LOVE the Vita and it’s one of my all-time favourite systems, right up there alongside the Commodore 64 and Amiga. That’s why I set this website up a decade ago.Gaming has been a huge part of my life since the 1970s, long before the advent of the 8-bit era. It hasn’t just been something I’ve done for fun though. For me, gaming has been an emotional and mental lifeline, giving me an escape and a way to manage stress and cope with any mental health issues I’ve had throughout my life. Self management like this helped me immensely but others in similar positions may need more professional help including teen mental health treatment malibu ca which can be just as effective.
But I digress. Seeing how Sony has treated it in that time, especially compared with how others have looked after their own hardware, just doesn’t fill me with confidence. Sony attempted to blame the Vita’s hacking scene for them pulling their support for the system but of the millions of Vita owners out there only a small percentage actually hacked their consoles. The rest were genuinely abandoned.
I’ve owned a Switch for some time and even though it’s not the most powerful system on the market, the support it receives from Nintendo is remarkable. From daily store updates to regular customer emails, a loyalty scheme, free legacy games through their online subscription service and thousands of games from AAA to bite-sized indie titles reminiscent of the releases we saw through PlayStation Mobile.
It’s not a platform without its faults as I discussed when I compared the Vita and Switch head to head, but I do know that if I ever had to choose another handheld in the future sadly Sony won’t be my first choice. And from someone who bought the original PlayStation on day one in the UK, that’s a sad decision to make.