Sony is ringing the death knell for the PlayStation Vita, its overlooked, under-appreciated darling little console.
The company has officially ended production of the handheld, effective March 2.
PlayStation Vita Now Officially Dead
The console's death should perhaps come as no surprise to most gamers. Last year, a Sony executive confirmed that manufacturing and shipping of Vita devices would cease this year. Hiroyuki Oda also said at the time that Sony has no plans for any kind of follow-up, which implied Sony was officially bowing out of the handheld race, a landscape largely dominated by Nintendo with the 3DS and now with the ultra-successful Switch.
PlayStation Vita Sales
Signs of Vita's demise came way earlier when, in 2015, Sony stopped making games for Vita. The company also stopped regularly publicizing individual platform sales in its investor reports much earlier, in 2013, to be exact, which signaled Vita's position on the company's list of priorities. As such, there are no published figures for how many Vita units were sold throughout its entire lifespan. Third-party estimates place sales somewhere between 10 to 15 million.
Last year, Sony ended the production of physical games for the device, and February 2019 also marked the last time the PlayStation Plus service offered games for the device. The original Vita launched in 2011 in Japan, followed by a U.S. release in 2012. Sony then released a "slim" model in 2013.
Why The PlayStation Vita Failed
Though it was a powerful console with a dynamic user interface and promised to give home console-level experiences on a handheld, the Vita never managed to gain significant traction.
Several factors likely contributed to its lukewarm reception. Mobile video gaming at the time was at its peak, with most people opting to play games on their phones instead of buying a standalone handheld. Then there's the matter of the Nintendo 3DS, which at the time served as Vita's toughest component. That console is now one of this generation's best-selling devices. Clearly, whatever Vita had to offer, it was no match for the 3DS' robust games library.
But the biggest factor comes down to memory. Despite overwhelming reproach from fans, Sony insisted that gamers use its proprietary memory cards for Vita, which were ridiculously more expensive than regular SD cards widely available for cheap prices on the mainstream market. This likely hurt Vita sales the most. It appears people simply didn't care much about the Vita to splurge on Sony's expensive memory cards.
Even still, the Vita has quite a number of excellent titles it can boast about. Gravity Rush, Severed, and Persona 4 Golden are just a few of many. Do you have a favorite PS Vita game? Do you think it deserved better? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!