Sony's success in the console space is undeniable. Individuals may have their own particular taste when it comes to hardware and first party games, but sales numbers don't lie, and the company has been slaying it since the PlayStation came out in 1994. One area where they haven't found the same fortune is the mobile gaming market. Their two efforts into handhelds, the PSP and PS Vita, were both met with polarizing responses. Sony has since shown no signs of entering once again, but one can never tell what the future holds. To that end, the following list will give five reasons they should take another crack at a handheld gaming device, and five reasons they shouldn't.
10 Why They Should: Technology
Sony always focuses on graphics. The PS4 was a more developer-friendly system, but players saw the console's beautiful results when its potential was unlocked with games like God of War, Uncharted 4, and the upcoming The Last of Us 2. Their mobile devices were no different in their respective times. The Vita in particular blew away the 3DS with their games' visual presentations. The Nintendo Switch is impressive to look at, but now is about the time Sony could roll up their sleeves and show them how pretty portable games can really be.
9 Why They Shouldn't: Bad Reputation
For all of their capabilities, the PSP and Vita were not fondly remembered. The latter is sometimes considered a straight-up failure. If they debuted a third device, that handheld would carry all the baggage from the two prior systems. It's unfortunate and not the fault of the new hardware, but it would none the less be a fact permeating through players' minds. Some would be reluctant to adopt another handheld, fearing it wouldn't live up to standards.
8 Why They Should: Convenience
Sony always saw their handhelds as more than just gaming platforms. Even in the early days of the PSP, one could download videos and watch films on UMDs. Regardless of the latter's quality, it showed their commitment to making the PSP a multimedia device. The Vita succeeds in this department in spades. Surfing the internet and streaming video is a breeze with this device. While smartphones are ubiquitous these days, a new Sony portable system would undoubtedly have a superior user interface.
7 Why They Shouldn't: Handheld Gaming's Uncertain Future
Gaming on phones is a huge chunk of the entire gaming market. With this in mind, it is possible that more serious handheld gaming devices could go away in the near future. The Switch remedied this and stayed relevant with its hybrid design. If Sony announced a new handheld, would people care? Would they want a mobile device that couldn't make phone calls or comfortably slide into one's pocket? Many who game on the go pay no attention to powerful graphics, so they wouldn't bat an eye if the company made the most powerful portable system in existence.
6 Why They Should: First Party Titles
While not to the same extent as Nintendo, Sony has had some great first party titles on both the PSP and Vita. The two God of War titles for the PSP received universal acclaim. The Syphon Filter, Ratchet and Clank, and Jak and Daxter games also had worthwhile portable spin-offs.
The Vita had less due to its shorter lifespan, but Killzone: Mercenary is often praised as one of the best first-person shooters on a handheld. This doesn't even get to mentioning exclusive titles from other companies like Square Enix, who put Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core on the PSP.
5 Why They Shouldn't: They Could Never Beat Nintendo
While second place is nothing to frown upon, it stings a little more when there are only two competitors in the field. Nintendo has the advantage of being in the mobile market longer, but that's not the only reason for their success.
They really know how to move units and appeal to the desires of fans with their devices. Sony could never even put a dent in their competitor's sales, so maybe they no longer see any reason to try.
4 Why They Should: Hybrid Console
People still have no idea what the PS5 will be capable of doing. What if Sony tries to add some sort of portable component to it? Maybe it won't be exactly like the Nintendo Switch, but some entirely different innovation that bridges the gap between gaming in the living room and on the go. The Vita strived for something similar with cross-buy, but some of the ports were too poor to be worth anyone's time. However, with modern technology there's no telling what tricks the company could pull
3 Why They Shouldn't: They Are Usually Too Expensive
Consoles live and die by their price tag. In the transition between generations, people loyal to one company often switch sides if the competitor offers a cheaper console. Sony's gaming devices are sometimes just a tad too expensive to justify a purchase. The PSP was $250 when the Nintendo DS was only $149.99. The Vita was similarly priced, and even had a $300 model. When the competition is one hundred bucks cheaper, most consumers are going to go for the less expensive brand with the name that's been around longer.
2 Why They Should: They Could Make A Machine That Plays Their Backlog
Backwards compatibility is a big issue these days. People want a way to play all of their favorite classics. PlayStation Now was intended to do this, but it didn't work out the way Sony hoped. One way they could please their audience is with a portable device that plays PS1, PS2, and PS3 games. Playing PS4 games too would probably be asking too much, but it would be welcome if they could make it happen. They could commit to expanding their digital catalog from these systems, and let players play games they already bought from the selection of PS1 and PS2 classics already available.
1 Why They Shouldn't: They Didn't Support The Vita Long Enough
Sony backed out of the Vita relatively early into its life. Leaving fans in the dust like that wasn't cool, though at least other developers still supported it. If they released another device, who's to say they won't do the same thing if early sales aren't to their liking? Can gamers trust that their investment will be supported for years to come? Even the most hardcore fans would be weary of giving Sony another shot after what they did with the Vita.