One of the main reasons behind the downfall of the PS Vita, which saw Sony announce at the 2018 Tokyo Game Show that it would be discontinued a year later, was the emergence of tablets as powerful gaming devices. In 2018 tablet gaming generated revenues of €8bn worldwide, with forecasts of that figure to rise to €10.4bn by the end of 2021.
When you consider that that the PS Vita only managed to shift 16.21 million units in its entire existence – and the fact that tablet shipments totalled 164 million units in 2017 alone – it’s easy to see why the PS Vita was left behind in favour of the more powerful and more versatile tablet. Within this article, we discuss where the tablet has got things right and why it has cemented itself as a credible gaming and entertainment device.
Although some PS Vita fans blame the success of the Nintendo DS for the Vita’s downfall, one reason that the Vita was rapidly losing its market share in the handheld gaming sector was the proliferation of iPads and Android tablets. The biggest benefit of tablets for gaming compared with the PS Vita was their accessibility. Almost everyone has started to buy tablets for home entertainment and administrative tasks. As we’ve already revealed, with only 16 million-plus PS Vita devices existing worldwide, the Vita doesn’t have this luxury of being on tap to the masses.
Tablets put the Vita’s screen real estate firmly in the shade
Image source: Photo
At the time, the PS Vita’s 5” screen size was seen as something of a boon. It was also an OLED screen rather than an LCD screen – vastly superior to any other device on the market. It’s now possible to get tablets that play similar-style games with screen sizes of 10” or bigger. In fact, using an Android tablet, it’s even possible to use a PS Vita emulator to bring your favourite Vita games to life on a tablet (albeit in an early developmental stage right now), so tablets are even catching up with the Vita with it’s ability to play its own games.. The Samsung Galaxy and Lenovo tablets are most popular among Android gamers, including poker players that prefer the freedom of movement to play on the go. These tablets can also be attached to keyboards and other accessories to create Vita-like physical controls that can perform more accurate in-game actions.
Technology which outdated fast
The excitement surrounding the PS Vita was that you could play over Wi-Fi and 3G connections. This ensured players could play online with friends or strangers, wherever they were. Unfortunately, it was soon possible for some tablets to provide 4G connectivity as well as reliable Wi-Fi connections. In fact, at the time of writing, there are cellular tablets that are now compatible with the latest 5G connectivity, giving gamers the benefit of full fibre gaming speeds.
Cost is no longer a differentiator
The PS Vita is now available with selected retailers as a used or refurbished product for approximately £140 with Amazon. When the first iPads and Android tablets were released, these cost considerably more than PS Vita devices. Nowadays, tablet manufacturers have successfully managed to bring down their production costs, with mid-range Android tablets now comfortably available at the same cost of a refurbished PS Vita and an all-important memory card.
Where cost does still come into play is the price of individual games. While PS Vita and indeed Nintendo DS games prices vary for both physical and digital releases with many still available at “pocket money” prices, mobile app developers are able to offer some of the best tablet gaming titles in ‘freemium’ format. Subsequently, players can enjoy a scaled back version of titles before committing money to the full version with upgraded features.
The only aspect where the PS Vita still wins out against tablet devices is the assurance of rock-solid Sony hardware. Vita owners know that Vita games will deliver a first-rate experience. On the flip side, some budget and mid-range tablets may not have sufficient hardware to run the games you want to play.
Tablets almost certainly helped contribute towards the demise of the PS Vita, with submissions of new games set to be closed from July 2021. However, those seeking the best possible experience from their iOS or Android gaming apps will still need to invest in a tablet with specifications at the higher end of the spectrum.
Title image source: Photo