Nintendo’s Switch console proved to the world that there’s still hope for portable gaming devices, but Sony’s PlayStation Vita failed to find the same success, and now exists as a niche platform for indie and Japanese titles. And according to Sony, it could be the last handheld system the company ever makes.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Andrew House said that there wasn’t “a huge market opportunity” for handheld gaming in regions other than Asia.
As many others have stated in the past, House believes that smartphones have largely replaced handheld gaming devices, and we’ve seen several games on the PlayStation Vita eventually coming to phones, as well. Moreover, games like Tearaway and Gravity Rush have eventually made their way to PlayStation 4, though they’ve needed to cut Vita-specific features in order to function.
Back in 2015, Sony said that it had “no titles in development” for the PlayStation Vita, and was instead focusing its efforts on the PlayStation 4, and now, PlayStation VR.
The Vita’s sluggish sales numbers weren’t caused by its games’ quality, however. At launch the excellent Uncharted: Golden Abyss was available, as was a great version of Rayman Origins. In 2013, Killzone: Mercenary was also released, giving first-person shooter fans bite-sized campaign levels as well as a surprisingly great competitive multiplayer component. Over the last few years, PlayStation Plus subscribers have received most of the system’s best games for free, so if you haven’t picked up the Vita yet, you could have a fully-stocked library without ever having to purchase a game.
Sony also has no plan to offer a “hybrid” gaming device like the Nintendo Switch, instead choosing to stick with the more traditional console model.
“The folks at Nintendo have their strategy and that’s great,” House added. “We remain focused around a highly connected gaming experience and also coupled with having a great range of other entertainment experiences so you can reach multiple people in the big screen in the household.”
In recent months, the PlayStation 4 has been dethroned by the Switch as the best-selling console in the United States. Previously, the system had been the top seller almost every month, only occasionally falling behind the Xbox One.