Sony has finally decided to pull the plug on its handheld console, the PlayStation Vita. After 8 years, the Japanese electronics company has ended production of the relatively unpopular device.
For those of you who are not familiar with the PlayStation Vita, it was a portable gaming console launched by Sony Computer Entertainment back in 2011. A successor to the much more popular PlayStation Portable, most believe that the decision of introducing the Vita was based on the success of the Portable.
Needless to say, the PlayStation Vita didn’t do so well. It only sold 16.1 million units during its production run. Compared to that, the PlayStation Portable sold a whopping 82 million units during its 10 years of production. The Vita wasn’t doing that bad initially. It reportedly sold 300,000 units during its first week. However, the hype died eventually as the Vita became irrelevant over time. It really does make one wonder what could possibly be the reason for its failure.
Well, the most simple (and likely) explanation is the rise of smartphones and phone gaming. The Vita was launched at a time when smartphones had just started going mainstream. Over the years, they have gotten more powerful, to the point where some even challenge high-end PCs. During the same period, the Vita only got one revision in 2013 which wasn’t enough to get it going.
The games were also getting better on the smartphones, to the point where their graphics and gameplay were better than those available on the Vita. Sony realized this and therefore stopped producing first-party games for the Vita in 2015, leading to its eventual demise here in 2019.
Some of you might be wondering if this really is the reason the Vita failed, how come the Nintendo Switch is doing so good? It’s an interesting observation. The Switch was launched in 2017 and has sold over 32 million units in just 2 years. That’s almost twice as much as what the Vita managed in 8 years. Maybe it was the market strategy that Nintendo got right. They advertised the Switch with the support to run some iconic titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Pokémon: Let’s Go.
These particular games had a strong emotional appeal to some of the older gamers out there, which probably resulted in them buying it. Maybe the Vita should’ve done something similar in order to survive. Unfortunately, it didn’t and now it’s gone. This might just be the end of an era for Sony handheld consoles as the company made no announcements regarding the successor to the Vita.
This does mean that collectors all over the world will start getting their hands on the last units available. So if you ever wanted to experience this ill-fated portable game console, now’s the time.