Apparently, Vita doesn’t mean “life” after all.
If you thought for some reason that Sony was going to jump back into the handheld space after the dismal sales of the PlayStation Vita, well, think again.
In a new conversation with Game Informer, it seems as though Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan has all but confirmed that PlayStation is done with handheld gaming. Touching on Sony’s latest on-the-go console, Ryan praised the Vita for what it is, but simultaneously acknowledged that the company is no longer moving in that direction. “PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but clearly it’s a business that we’re no longer in now,” he said.
Ryan’s statement isn’t a shocking one by any means, especially considering Sony ended the production of the device earlier this year. To date, the Vita has only sold around 15-16 million units, a far cry from the PSP which sold over 80 million units worldwide. It was enough of a failure on Sony’s part to lead the company to this point in which it might never return to the handheld space.
I think what upsets me the most about the Vita is that it was actually a fantastic little device. To this day, I still prefer my Vita to my Switch in some major ways. To me, Sony just tried way too hard to pitch the device as one that could equal the AAA experiences you can have on consoles rather than focusing on the litany of other positives of the device. A poor sales pitch combined with a weak lineup of first-party games to play on the platform as the years went on ultimately doomed it from a mainstream perspective.
Perhaps one day Sony will give the handheld market another shot, as unlikely as it may seem. Nintendo has proven with the Switch that there is still a desire for handheld gaming in 2019. That being said, Nintendo’s grip on the handheld space right now is so firm that for anyone to challenge them in the near future would seem foolish. Still, I’ll try to keep hope alive for myself that Sony one day gives this handheld thing one more shot.
Long live the Vita.