Sony discontinued its PlayStation Vita handheld console in 2019 after eight years, and with the PS5 kicking off a brand new console generation this year, many have been wondering whether Sony will ever release another portable console. Let’s take a look.
PlayStation Vita: A Failure Or A Success?
Sony launched the PlayStation Vita back in 2011 for Japan, and 2012 for the rest of the world. The small console was the successor to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) but failed to match its success. Today, the console is regarded as one of Sony’s least successful consoles, so what was the problem?
While the portable console had plenty of games throughout its lifetime, many people criticised the console for its lack of games. This ultimately swayed potential buyers from grabbing a console for themselves, and although Sony attempted to address the issue by launching the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, which offered players popular games for a small subscription each month, it wasn’t enough.
Most of the games available on the console were ports of existing PS3 games, which many console owners may have already played through, or games from the PSP or original PlayStation. While many games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss were good, and the PS Vita became a great space for indie titles, many big-name titles that could have saved the console were cancelled, such as the untitled BioShock game.
You can see why, with the supposed lack of games available, interest in the console dwindled. At the time, Sony was competing against the Nintendo 3DS console which launched a year prior to the Vita and offered a slew of exclusive and award-winning titles.
The Vita was not a failure; it developed a loyal fanbase, produced some excellent games, and was a wonderful piece of tech. It just wasn’t as successful as it could have been. Ultimately, the PS Vita missed hitting some important beats that could have otherwise saved it.
Sony has stated that they have no plans on making any future handheld devices, but many fans believe that they should reconsider their decision since the portable gaming market has never been bigger.
Why Portable Gaming Is Popular
Most people around the world now own a smartphone and regularly play games. While they don’t compare to the titles on the 3DS or the PS Vita, these games are fun to play for casual gamers, and with the rising power of tech, these games look better than ever.
Smartphone users can enjoy playing puzzle games, platforming, and even real-money casino games through dedicated casino apps, and all of this has never been so popular.
Meanwhile, Nintendo’s latest portable console, the Nintendo Switch, is on its way to becoming one of the best-selling consoles of all time. The console, which doesn’t offer any streaming applications like Netflix, primarily plays games and its titles include a mixture of new Nintendo exclusives as well as ports of older games such as The Witcher 3.
The main difference between smartphone gaming and the Nintendo Switch is that they all have a large game offering. Without a doubt, Sony should go back on its statement and once again attempt a handheld console. Only this time, they need to go full-out with game selection and special features.
Image by Adam Valstar, available from Unsplash