Sony had not very surprising news for the industry when a senior executive of the company said that the company was not making any plans for a successor to its gaming handheld PlayStation Vita. Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida, was interacting with the media at the EGX 2015, recently conducted at the NEC, Birmingham, when he admitted to the unlikeliness of a PlayStation Vita 2 ever being released.
Yoshida told the assembled media representatives that while the PlayStation Vita was an excellent product that he himself was a fan of, the gaming industry simply did not leave any space for a handheld console given that smartphone gaming has become so widespread. Sony has certainly poured a lot of effort into the PlayStation Vita and given it lots of features that made playing on it a fantastic experience. However, it simply would not be a good decision to carry the project further.
The use of mobile devices is on the increase and people tend to reach for them when they want to go online. When it comes to gaming, users like the convenience of carrying their favourite games with them wherever they go. What makes mobile gaming even more attractive is that most of the games are available for free, or at least free to start. There is no doubt that there is immense demand for portable games. The problem for Sony, however, is that gamers would choose mobile gaming over the company?s handheld console.
Sony had launched PlayStation Vita in December 2011 starting with Japan, and then with Europe a couple of months later. The product has done relatively well in Japan, having sold 4 million units so far, so much so that local developers invariably make games for this console and not only for the PS4. However, the handheld has not done as well in other markets and sales have steadily dropped there. Nintendo’s 3DS has also had a similarly lukewarm reception worldwide. However, indications are that if any console succeeds in the market, it will be the one from Nintendo
Interestingly, the people who do own Vitas tend to be very fond of these devices, especially because certain elements of it were well made. Sony?s abandonment of the Vita project, even though it is for very valid reasons, is sure to reflect badly on the company. There is quite a bit of disillusionment on account of the lack of high quality games for this console. In fact, the market might even be wary of buying Sony?s VR console Project Morpheus for fear that it will be abandoned if it doesn?t do well right from the outset.
If at all the Vita survives in the market, it will be as a niche device at best. All of this indicates that a PlayStation Vita 2 is absolutely out of the question as long as the market hungers for mobile games. The gaming industry is notoriously fickle, however, and might surprise us with high demand for a hand held.