Sony Not Planning to Create a PlayStation Vita Successor

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

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By


Shuhei Yoshida at an EGX panel

Since the PlayStation Vita was launched in 2011 in Japan and in 2012 for the rest of the world, it has been the little engine that could withstand the lackluster performance in terms of sales and has been a fantastic platform for niche games. During a Q&A session at EGX, Shushei Yoshida stated Sony is not planning to create a successor to the PlayStation Vita due to the current climate of handheld gaming, especially with the dominance of smartphones taking up more market share. He said the following statements when the question of a new Sony handheld was brought up:

I myself am a huge fan of PlayStation Vita and we worked really hard on designing every aspect. Touch-based games are fun – there are many games with really good design. But having sticks and buttons make things totally different.

“So I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming.”

The PlayStation Vita has not been the most successful handheld outside of Japan with many places dedicating only a small shelf space to Vita products and games. Third parties have been able to keep the Vita alive overseas, but several games being released for the system are also being released on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 and some games that were once exclusive to the Vita have been ported over to the PlayStation 4 in an effort to reintroduce the games to a wider audience.

If you want to watch the Q&A Session, the video is below for your convenience.

Do you agree the current handheld climate is not healthy enough for a new Sony handheld device? or do you disagree with Yoshida and believe the climate is ripe for a successor to the Vita? Do you think there is still a good market for a new Sony handheld device? Leave us your comments below.

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  • random

    There is, but the problem lies in with Sony not advertising those games to begin with. That has been the Vita’s downfall; lack of advertisement.

    • JustaGuest

      That and the overpriced priority memory cards.

    • Andreas Bauer

      And Sony’s focus on home console caliber games on a handheld instead of its own library of on-the-go games.

    • Tara

      Yes, and I feel that is a major part of the problem. “Let’s make console-grade games on a handheld, with the AAA budget and everything!” and when it didn’t sell well enough, they were like “Well, it’s dead. Best leave it for the indies and third-parties to salvage.” Personally, not a fan of Uncharted (don’t get me wrong, I understand WHY people like it, it’s just not for me) but I hear Golden Abyss is literally the worst one in the series. Very gimmicky, trying to play to the PSV’s unique controls, but that kinda hurt what made the others so great. Honestly, it was the poor performance of Uncharted: Golden Abyss that was the nail in the coffin for the PSV as far as Sony was concerned… shame that happened so early in the device’s lifespan.

    • Andreas Bauer

      Oh I liked Golden Abyss quite a lot and the (optional) motion control assisted aiming was awesome. But yea, the light puzzle where you had to hold the Vita against light and that never really worked both were a huge negative point for both, Uncharted Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed III Liberation. They just tried to force everything the device could do down our throats, even though it didn’t work right at all (reminds me of the Zelda games for the Wii)

      But yea, Sony didn’t understand that with the PSP already and they didn’t learn from it and just went on with this for the PSV with all the console grade games and a bazillion Vita ports of PS3 games. I understand that some people like to have those games while they’re on longer train rides etc, but it’s simply not something most people buy a handheld for so it never reached enough people and lost to 3DS and Smartphones.

    • Edwin Ramirez

      They never came up with a Patapon sequel. That alone was a grave mistake.

  • Pauly-kun

    The vita became a Niche machine. Sad… :c

  • Vanadise

    This is kinda sad. I like my Vita, although I admit it hasn’t seen nearly as much use as my 3DS has. Overall the hardware is great, although the UI still has some serious problems and their decision to use high-priced proprietary memory cards obviously went badly for them. Still, there’s a lot of great niche games on it.

    Still, this is far from the first time somebody has tried to challenge Nintendo’s handheld dominance and lost. Not having a serious competitor is just going to make Nintendo’s development stagnate…

    • Tara

      I agree on most of your points.

      However, I think Nintendo will still uphold their development standards. They are still dealing with a competitor, sort of. The mobile market. Though as I stated in my own post, mobile actually is probably not as big a threat as it’s made out to be most of the time. Even so, it is still a competitor nonetheless, and not one that will go away. (But it sure is stupid that we live in a world where a 99 cent game is considered a great value, but a $40 game that has 100 times as much content, is better made, and is actually fun to play is somehow considered “overpriced”… but that seems to only be a small number of people that think that way. I’ve never really enjoyed any of the twitchy 99 cent games I’ve ever bought, but I can spend $40 on a game like Monster Hunter, or Pokemon, or a Hatsune Miku game, and get so much more enjoyment out of it than anything on mobile.)

    • Vanadise

      I don’t think the mobile market is really a competitor for Nintendo, though. Like you said, the mobile market is dominated by 99 cent or free-to-play games, and those don’t appeal at all to people who want a dedicated handheld and high-quality $40 titles. Nintendo doesn’t actually need to innovate in order to compete with the mobile market.

    • Andreas Bauer

      Oh yes, a $0.99 game definitely is good value when it’s well made and IMO superior to a $40 game that lasts a lot longer. At least on portable platforms. On the go many people don’t _primarily_ look for huge, long games, they need something to pass the time. And while a huge RPG every now and then is great (and absolutely something I do want occasionally), when you’re looking for things to pass the time while you’re on the road there’s often long stretches of time between relatively short play sessions there’s oftentimes not enough time to actually progress the story in a satisfying manner and it’s easy to forget things so that’s a lot less enjoyable for people who aren’t hardcore gamers who sit at home with their 3DS and actually play for hours.

    • Tara

      I’m talking comparatively speaking. Most 99 cent games don’t have even a fraction of the content you’re getting in a $40 game… and 99 cents doesn’t even count when a game is loaded down with microtransactions and other garbage. Yeah, it’s true a $40 game can have a ton of DLC for it, that does kinda kill the value some. I am probably an exception, but I tend to play handheld games at home just as much as I play console games. It’s just how it’s always been, so I’m looking for a mix of things, usually something a bit more fulfilling on my handhelds, though.

      My issue is more along the lines of… say, someone’s parents play games, but only something like… Angry Birds. They pay 99 cents or whatever for a game that’s a one-trick pony, but are thoroughly entertained. Their kid wants a $40 Pokemon game, but the parents are like “$40 is really expensive, why can’t you play something cheaper like Angry Birds?” when in reality, there’s no legitimate comparison. The percieved value of the game is that you can get something “good” for 99 cents, but $40 is too expensive… when you honestly get what you pay for in that case.

      It’s great there are cheap games for people on the go, but they’re usually middling, shallow types of games, and shouldn’t influence one’s perception of something deeper. And no, I’m not suggesting that all 99 cent games are bad, but they have definitely had an impact on what value is seen in other types of games.

  • Tara

    Honestly, they did next to nothing to advertise the system, they released very few games on it, and they overestimated the demand for “console-like” experiences on a handheld. There were no true “killer apps” on the thing, no “must-have” games for the large portion of the potential audience. Not to mention Sony’s really bad habit of “release a few AAA titles, and then let everyone else pick up the slack” thing they did with the PSP. Same deal with the Vita. It’s a fantastic little system, and it’s got a great library… but it was doomed to fail before it even launched, since Sony more or less abandoned the PSP years before it had a successor, which doesn’t do much for getting anyone to buy based on “loyalty” (the same issue affects Nintendo with their consoles, since they tend to drop support a year or two before they actually release a successor). Then you have things like… Monster Hunter making the jump over to the 3DS. That really hit Sony where it hurt, because any success the PSP had was largely due to MH.

    The mobile market thing, it’s an excuse. The 3DS family has done pretty well. Sure, it’s not getting all the “casual” sales it may have before due to the mobile market, but those potential buyers usually would’ve bought a Game Boy or a DS to play maybe one or two games, something they’re getting an approximate equivalent of on mobile. The core gamer crowd is still buying handhelds, and they’re buying a lot of games while they’re at it. So basically, hardware sales ARE down, but I’d be willing to bet that software sales have remained largely the same.

    Even so, I am fine with Sony deciding to exit the handheld stage. Not because I want less options (I think having a legitimate competitor in the handheld market did wonders for Nintendo) but because Sony has no idea how to handle this. I have my PSP, I have my Vita. I love both systems, but it’ll be a tough sell to get me to buy another portable from Sony after their lackluster handling of these two… not to mention, Sony’s continued INSISTENCE to use proprietary storage devices. $30 for a 16GB memory card is an absolute joke, and let’s be honest here, that turned off a LOT of potential buyers. I went with the 64GB card (which was only released in Japan, by the way) because I got a deal on it where it was about $1 a GB, which is still way overpriced for flash memory of any kind these days… but I realized with how few physical copies of games I saw on the shelves, I’d best plan to use it mostly as a download-only system. (Wise choice if I say so myself, because a lot of the games I am interested in didn’t even get a physical release!)

    So as it stands, Sony’s departure from the handheld market is disappointing, but I shed no tears over this, because frankly, it’s been a long time coming.

    • Edwin Ramirez

      TLDR: They never came up with a Patapon sequel.

  • Superr Mann

    Well not now at least

  • Nonscpo

    If they announce that there next handheld will actually be a tablet, then we all might as well buy into the next Nvidia Shield tablet, since they already have a storefront and ecosystem to work with!

  • monkeysrumble

    Such a sad thing to happen to a machine with so much potential. They didn’t make the best decisions when it came to designing the vita (fuck their overpriced memory cards) but it didn’t deserve this.

  • Ragunaxl

    Everyone is splitting hairs here. It’s a very good machine with a great library of games, both home quality and on-the-go. Advertising doesn’t kill a machine. Look at 3ds, unless you watch disney channel regularly or visit play nintendo on their own site the advertising doesn’t exsist. Mobile games advertising isn’t really a thing either. Candy crush has an ad that runs on TMZ, end game? House of mario falls? It’s a solid machine that didn’t take off. That happens all the time. Dreamcast, Ouya, 64, Gamecube, Turbografx. People who owned these machines have know complaint, doesnt mean they did well in the market placrag

    • Edwin Ramirez

      Advertising doesn’t kill a machine but it sure can help.
      Besides , the overpriced, undervalued, and proprietary memory cards alone would cause enough doubt on buying this console.
      That and the lack of interesting games. PS3 ports are just that, ports. And no, Patapon sequel. Sony didn’t even give the Vita a chance to survive.

  • TrueWiiMaster

    While the handheld market has shrunk, handhelds can still do well, hence the 3DS. The Vita had various other problems besides competition from smartphones. It was expensive, its memory cards were, and still are, vastly overpriced, and almost all of its big games were inferior installments from home console franchises. I don’t have a Vita myself, but I do want to get one at some point to play a handful of Vita and PSP games, and a bunch of PS1 classics on the go. The system itself is nice, but it just has too many issues with pricing and games.

    As for future Sony handhelds, I don’t blame them for stopping at the Vita, even if it was largely their fault the Vita has done so poorly. Hopefully the Vita will keep going, at least with indies and niche titles, for years to come in place of a new system.

  • Infophile

    A mobile system fails, so Sony decides it must have been because mobile systems aren’t popular. Apparently it didn’t occur to them that they might have screwed up in how they handled it*. They aren’t the only ones who do this though. For instance, after one failed Metroid game, Nintendo apparently decided the franchise was dead rather than considering that they’d screwed up that particular game.

    *In about three key ways:
    -Too powerful, so it didn’t appeal to developers on a budget, who all went with the 3DS instead.
    -Overpriced memory cards
    -What advertising there was didn’t match the product that actually existed.

    • Tara

      Well, I agree on the memory cards, I feel that was a MAJOR issue. The power thing is definitely there, but I feel that there are a lot of good “budget” titles on the system, but I feel a lot of the “big budget” games were honestly either ports of PS3 titles, or were simply mediocre spinoffs.

      … as for the advertising, I realize you are suggesting there wasn’t much, but I swear I never saw one single ad for it. Ever. I do know what they’d claimed it was capable of, but it never had the chance to reach it’s full potential. Still has some great games, but we’re not gonna see anything that manages to hit the system’s full capability.