In recent years, the “Mobile and handheld” gaming category has swung pretty seriously towards smartphones and away from dedicated devices. Sony has apparently noticed the trend, confirming that a successor to the PlayStation Vita is not likely to happen.
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony‘s Worldwide Studios, was grilled on a panel at last week’s EGX 2015 in Birmingham. One of the key questions from the audience was whether or not the hardware giant was considering creating a Vita 2.
The response from Yoshida was more definite than the usual vague answers we’re used to from industry heavyweights. Rather than mumbling about how the Vita brand is “important”, Yoshida simply explained that the current mobile/handheld industry is “unhealthy”. He blames smartphones almost entirely for the shift.
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.
People have mobile phones and it’s so easy to play games on smartphones. And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start.
Yoshida was quick to explain that he didn’t want to discourage gamers from playing portable games, but that the “huge dominance” of mobile gaming was making things difficult for dedicated handheld gaming devices.
Right now, Sony considers the Vita to be a legacy platform, and hasn’t developed any first-party games for the platform for quite a while. There is still a lively indie scene for the handheld, but in terms of mainstream appeal, the Vita’s star is certainly fading.