The PlayStation Vita is a marvelous little handheld with a legacy that comes loaded with contradictions. It was supposed to bring AAA gaming to the palms of our hands, but it never did. And despite that failure, it is still a beloved little console by those who own it, which Sony says is an audience that isn’t that big.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and global CEO Andrew House opened up on his thoughts about mobile gaming and Sony’s play to take on the Switch’s market, which it will not do.
The Nintendo device is a hybrid device and that’s a different approach and strategy. We have not seen that as being a huge market opportunity.
As for the mobile market, Sony sees smartphones as the future and will not create another dedicated platform like the Vita. Speaking on the handheld, House claimed that it had very little demand outside of Asia and Japan.
The Vita experience was that outside of Japan and Asia, there was not a huge demand. The lifestyle shift toward the dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you, was the determining factor.
Meanwhile, he says that Sony’s foray into smartphone games with Everybody’s Golf is doing fantastic. House closed with a comment stating that he had not yet seen Nintendo having an effect on its business.
That draws me to the conclusion that they’ve really been additive to the business in the last year or so. The folks at Nintendo have their strategy and that’s great. We remain focused around a highly connected gaming experience and also coupled with having a great range of other entertainment experiences so you can reach multiple people on the big screen in the household.
He’s not entirely wrong. The Vita went from having the potential to make AAA games on a handheld device, but after the first few sold poorly compared to their console big brothers, Sony abandoned the initiative. Following that, the Vita became an outlet for indie games, niche Japanese RPGs, and portable retro favorites, again, all niche markets in today’s gaming world.
True, the support wasn’t always there from Sony, but it wasn’t always there from the Sony faithful either. If Uncharted: Golden Abyss had sold as well as Uncharted 2, then you would have seen another one. Simple as that.