The handheld PlayStation Vita is likely the last of its kind. At UK gaming event EGX 2015, an audience member asked Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida about the future of handheld consoles, who gave a sad answer for Vita fans.
“People have mobile phones, smart phones, and it’s so easy to just play … games for free,” he said. “The climate is not healthy for now, because of the huge dominance of mobile games.” He also compared touch screens with the feeling of a stick and buttons, stressing the difference in gaming experience.
The Vita still sells well in Japan, but sales have slowed in the rest of the world. The numbers were stronger for its predecessor, the PSP. Nintendo has experienced a similar decline with its 3DS, which has not sold as well as the DS that came before it.
Though mobile gaming has become a major competitor to handheld consoles, there are more factors behind the Vita’s dwindling popularity. Just a few months ago, Yoshida admitted that Sony’s first party developers are not working on any new titles for the Vita, reports IGN. Sony is relying on third party and smaller studios to support the Vita. Additionally, developers continue to offer games with cross-platform support between the Vita and PlayStation consoles.
The Vita’s priced dropped to $200 in 2013, and we can expect to see it go down further. For the time being, you can find the occasional bundle and get a free game and other accessories.
Still, Sony is not giving up on its 4-year-old handheld system. For the first time in North America, the Vita will be available in a color other than the standard black. The aqua blue Vita will be released on November 6, and is available for pre-order as a GameStop exclusive.