Sony Says The Handheld Is Dead, Long Live... Something Else

Sony executives say there won't be a PlayStation Vita successor, but does that rule out Sony handheld gaming in the future?

Sony and PlayStation are reportedly no longer in the handheld gaming market. The declaration comes from Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, as part of Game Informer's massive retrospective celebrating 25 years of PlayStation.

Ryan's specific said that “PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but clearly, it’s a business that we’re no longer in now.”

Whether that means portable gaming in general is off the table isn't completely clear. PS Vita TV and transferrable save data made the Vita Sony's Wii U, mostly un-tethering the console experience and letting players take their games on the go. Former SIE President John Kotera told IGN UK in 2018 that Sony's approach to handhelds was:

Rather than separating portable gaming from consoles, it’s necessary to continue thinking of it as one method to deliver more gaming experiences and exploring what our customers want from portable.

Which sounds a lot like a modified version of PS TV.

It'd be a much smarter approach to handheld than Sony's taken as well, free of the proprietary memory card bugbear and, like Nintendo, letting Sony and its developers focus on software for one device instead of several.

How this plays out is still very much uncertain. The PlayStation 5 is set to release around the holidays next year, but we still don't know too much about it. It could be backwards compatible with every PS console before it, so who knows — it might just have some kind of portable, Switch-like capability as well.

Contributor

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Dec. 4th 2019

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