An Advanced Version of PSP: Why PS Vita Failed?

This handheld gaming device of Sony failed despite being ahead of its time.

An Advanced Version of PSP: Why PS Vita Failed?
An Advanced Version of PSP: Why PS Vita Failed?

Since its entrance into the gaming platform, Sony has delivered the best PlayStation experience to players. PlayStation has always dominated the console market with its unique characteristics like innovative hardware and exclusive games. Such features acquired PlayStation higher sales than its competitive console companies, making it the best-selling gaming console.

However, despite several successes, one Sony console failed to engage gamers towards it: the PS Vita. 

Key Takeaways

  • Sony has provided an ultimate PlayStation experience, consistently dominating the console market with its innovative gameplay and exclusive titles.
  • PlayStation Vita came as a successor to 2004’s PlayStation Portable but failed for numerous reasons.
  • It flopped due to high competition from mobile games, foul remote play, and high hardware and memory stick costs.

PS Vita: Sony’s Second Entry in Handheld Console

Introduced as a successor to the PlayStation Portable, Sony released the PS Vita in 2011. It had more advanced features than the PSP, like two analog joysticks, an OLED multi-touch screen, and supported Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. On top of that, it allowed players to play PS Vita with PS3 and PS4 remotely.

Source: SpawnPoiint, YouTube
Source: SpawnPoiint, YouTube

Sony’s most prominent vision with PS Vita was to provide an enjoyable gaming experience through a powerful handheld gaming console. It offered many great games like Metal Gear Solid HD collection, Mortal Kombat, Uncharted Golden Abyss, and more. Additionally, it also supported online multiplayer options.

Although many considered it ahead of time, the PS Vita was the first and last of its kind.

Why Did It Flop?

Despite being superior to Nintendo 3Ds, many reasons equally contributed to PS Vita’s commercial failure.

The Timing Was Just Bad

PS Vita boasted outstanding features, yet it got lost in the changing environment of mobile gaming. The rise of mobile gaming served as the culprit in kicking PS Vita out of the gaming landscape.

I mean, of course, why would a person go for such a handheld gaming device? When they can roam around with a highly functional device in their pockets that offers more than just gaming.

Even the president of PlayStation Studios at that time, Shuhei Yoshida, found the portable gaming devices culture unhealthy due to mobile gaming’s colossal dominance. 

Source: EGX, YouTube
Source: EGX, YouTube

The days of having a PSP or Game Boy in your pocket were long gone. It was only a mobile phone you needed for gaming and business activities.

High Cost of PS Vita

The price of Vita was simply higher than what people were willing to pay. Indeed, I would prefer to pay an extra $50 of Vita’s price for a PS3 and play high-quality Sony exclusives than buying a $200-300 PS Vita.

Even phones at that time had cheaper prices and pretty much the same things and more to offer.

Why Would Anyone Buy an Additional Expensive Memory Card?

Consumers already found the PS Vita expensive for a portable gaming device during its launch. Additionally, customers had to buy a memory card to store games and game progress. This may sound okay but it is not.

The memory stick‘s cost was $100. It sounded absurd to shell out an additional hundred dollar bill for a small console, already bought at $250. Gamers viewed Sony’s tactic as stupid. Instead of blowing out their wallets, they moved towards the Nintendo 3DS, which was considerably cheaper.

Source: IGN, YouTube
Source: IGN, YouTube

PS4 Remote Play

With its low sales and limited game library, Sony implemented the idea of making Vita a companion to PS3 and PS4. 

Sony gave an option of PS Remote Play, allowing access to PS3 and PS4 games. Since such a feature was also usable on phones, especially on Sony Xperia, this tactic wasn’t enough to put a soul into the already dying body of the PlayStation Vita. 

Lastly, many complained on different forums about their PS Vita not getting connected to their PS consoles.

PS Vita Is Good As Dead

Sony finally discontinued the PlayStation Vita production in 2019, putting it to rest. It had failed miserably to leave its mark within the three years of its launch. On top of that, with the entrance of PS4, Sony neglected to work on PS Vita, considering low sales and negative reviews.

Nintendo’s competition had literally swooped and had eaten Sony’s breakfast, making Vita the second-lowest console to be sold.

My belief is that Sony released the PlayStation Vita at the wrong time; otherwise, it could have been a real game changer. Its superior features might have revolutionized the portable gaming experience if it had been released in 2008.

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