Against all odds, the PS Vita is still showing signs of life after a new update despite being all but abandoned by Sony last year. While the update is nothing more than a standard stability update, it comes seven months after the Vita’s production ceased in Japan. Though the patch comes from the Asian PlayStation page, it shows that even at the end of its life-cycle, the divisive handheld still is finding life.
Released in 2011 in Japan, the PS Vita tried to draw a bridge between mobile gaming and consoles, offering features such as remote play to PS4 users and a selection of titles to suit the needs of gamers on the go. While the PlayStation brand is bulletproof in the home console market, the PS Vita could not dent the juggernaut that was the many variants of the Nintendo DS.
What is astounding about the Vita’s peculiar update is that there had been no indicator that Sony would continue supporting the system after halting all production last September. As the traditional handheld era of gaming is nearing its end, the Vita’s presumably final upgrade is a somber reminder of days past.
The Vita sold an estimated 16 million units during its eight-year production cycle, often specializing in traditional JRPGs and indie titles. While the Vita failed to penetrate the market in the US and had to rely heavily on cross-play functionality with the PS4, the system sold well in Japan and had been a focal point for Sony to encourage third-party support for the console.
A simple update that comes out of the blue isn’t a sign of a resurgence, but a telling sign of the state of mobile gaming. The epicenter of mobile gaming moved to consumer cell phones as games like Pokémon GO, Fortnite, and PUBG Mobile are readily accessible to anyone who possesses a smartphone. Gaming companies have taken notice and the market for a portable console is not as rampant as it was a decade ago. As the Vita enjoys one final update in the Asian regions, the unexpected update serves as a last lease of life for the old school of portable gaming.
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