Sony Interactive Entertainment VP brutally announced, at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, that the manufacturing of the PS Vita will end Japan in 2019.
For some time now, the PlayStation Vita has been forgotten and neglected by Sony execs. A cursory port or two have been released, true enough, but when it came to the big shows, there was nothing but a sad, silent void where the Vita announcements should have been. Now comes the official confirmation we all knew was coming: Vita is going to cease production in Japan in 2019.
It’s hard to put a finger on what went wrong here. The Vita was the follow-up to the PSP, after all, a super-successful system that sold over 76 million units over its decade-long lifespan (2004-2014). Its tech specs were something darn special (for a dedicated handheld), and it proudly boasted of being able to offer a console-quality experience on the go.
One of the main issues, sadly, was the games themselves. Perhaps Vita could have brought us something truly remarkable, but it just wasn’t given the opportunity. The system’s scant selection of exclusives, such as Gravity Rush, eventually found their way to other systems (PS4 got a spangly new sequel to Kat’s adventure, in fact, which Vita was denied).
What did it really have to offer, to set itself apart? Indie games and more obscure JRPGs are the Vita’s niche just now. It does also have access to a range of PlayStation Classics on Sony’s store, but the freshly-announced PlayStation Mini will have that area covered come December.
For all of these reasons, then, we’re left with a system that just didn’t perform. Perhaps it would have fared better if marketing had done it justice, but it’s too late for ifs, buts and candy and nuts. The sad fact is that it was inevitable for Sony to pull the plug, and here it comes.
At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Sony Interactive Entertainment senior vice president Hiroyuki Oda hammered that final nail into the coffin. His announcement, Famitsu (translated by Gematsu) reports, was brief and just a little bit brutal: “Currently, we do not have any plans regarding a new handheld device… In Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019. From there, shipping will end.”
Of course, this is no surprise to anyone in the industry, really, but it’s a real shame. Not only was Vita a failure, but it doesn’t look as though there are any PlayStation handhelds coming in the foreseeable future.