The writing has been on the wall for months but the ax has finally fallen. PS Vita mortuus est! Sony has officially ceased the production of its remaining gaming handheld console after months of winding down everything connected to it. And with no plans for a successor of any kind, Sony has practically surrendered that market to Nintendo as the Switch continues to outsell, or at least out-hype, both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Sony, ironically, was in the position to corner the handheld market. It was, after all, the first to offer a console experience in a handheld device with the PlayStation Portable, something Nintendo’s DS systems could only dream of. And while the Joy-cons are admittedly ingenious, the rest of Nintendo’s system could have been implemented on a PS Vita or its successor.
But for one reason or another, Sony squandered the lead that the PSP won it. The PSP Vita was starving for attention both from the market but, more importantly, also from Sony and game developers. Perhaps they thought that portable consoles would be made extinct by smartphones. That was until Nintendo proved otherwise.
The two remaining PS Vita SKUs have now officially been discontinued and Sony previously stated they weren’t planning on a sequel. Sony, however, hasn’t moved over to mobile gaming to replace its gaming handhelds. Again ironic considering how it is the only one of the big three console makers that also makes its own phones. It is in a position to blaze a trail in that market but it chose not to.
That leaves Nintendo unchallenged in the gaming handheld market on all tiers, with the Nintendo Switch targeting more regular gamers and the various Nintendo DS systems aimed at younger and more casual ones. That is, of course, until Microsoft’s Project xCloud gets fully underway, which would allow its Xbox games to be played on phones and, ironically, even on the Nintendo Switch too.