SONY says it will close the curtains on the PS Vita in 2019.
And even worse for fans, the handheld console won’t be getting a replacement – it’s simply dead forever.
Sony exec Hiroyuki Oda broke the bad news to Japanese gaming site Famitsu at the Tokyo Game Show 2018.
“Currently, we do not have any plans regarding regarding a new handheld device,” Oda is quoted as saying.
“In Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019.”
It’s no surprise, of course – Sony has been steadily suffocating the PS Vita for years.
The console launched in Japan in late 2011, followed by a US and European release in February 2012.
But the Vita struggled to get off the ground, to the point that Sony stopped developing games for the console in 2015.
And in May this year, Sony blocked game developers from making games for the Vita too.
The Japanese tech giant also stopped giving out Vita games for free to people with paid PlayStation Plus subscriptions.
Sony originally launched the console in hopes of blending big-budget gaming with the growing trend of mobile video games.
Sadly, Sony struggled to shift the pocketable console in any meaningful numbers.
Analyst estimates suggest around 6million Vitas had been sold by the end of 2013 – after two years on sale.
By comparison, the Nintendo Switch handheld console has only been out for 18 months, but nearly 20million units have been sold.
There were several key issues with Sony’s PS Vita.
Firstly, mobile gaming was booming at the time – so there’s wasn’t a clear need to buy an extra handheld gaming device when a smartphone would work just fine.
Secondly, Sony faced stiff competition from the Nintendo 3DS, a very popular handheld console with loads of well-reviewed games.
Finally, there was a severe shortage of games available to play on the Vita. And once game makers realised Sony was struggling to sell the console, their willingness to make games plummeted – hurting PS Vita sales even more.
Speaking to Polygon last year, Sony’s Shawn Layden described this exact phenomenon.
“For whatever reason, and there are a host of them, and there are even more reasons if we were drinking beer, Vita just didn’t reach that critical mass with the audience.
“And thereby, the development community doesn’t get behind it, and thereby the audience doesn’t come, and it’s a quick negative spiral effect.”
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But there is some good news for PlayStation fans for 2019.
We’re expecting Sony to reveal the PlayStation 5 before Christmas next year.
A recent report by top analyst Hideki Yasuda said the console is much closer than anyone imagined.
In a report for his firm Ace Economic Research Institute, Yasuda said he thinks “the introduction of the PS5 will be at the end of 2019”.
If that’s the case, Sony would almost certainly release the console before Christmas – for maximum sales opportunity.
What’s more, Yasuda promises that the PS5 will be a “high-performance machine” that boasts “high-end computer graphics”.
It’s already rumoured that the PS5 will feature game-streaming tech, letting you stream video games over the internet like a TV show or movie.
This could be a major blow to Microsoft, which is already working on an Xbox Two console – expected to launch much later.
Will you miss the PS Vita? Did you ever even own one? Let us know in the comments!