After seven years of struggling to reach an audience in a world where mobile games are readily available in everyone’s pocket, Sony has officially ended production of the Playstation Vita handheld.
The two remaining SKUs of the Vita were officially discontinued on the company’s official website late last week.
While the Vita was a cutting-edge portable gaming console at the time of its launch, the handheld failed to reach a major audience, in part because mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets was reaching new peaks in popularity at the same time.
The ill-fated handheld launched back in December of 2011 in Japan, and in North America two months later. A redesigned slimline model followed two years later in 2013.
A veritable powerhouse, the handheld boasted graphics that almost rivaled the Playstation 3’s graphical prowess and let users remotely stream PlayStation 4 content in a
Though Sony brought major franchises like “Uncharted,” “Wipeout,” and “Killzone” to the Vita, the company’s support for the handheld wavered as early as 2015.
While initial sales of the device in Japan were positive, with industry reports finding that the handheld was outselling the PS4 in parts of 2015, the console was seen as a failure in the West.
The Vita sold an estimated 16 million units over the course of its life – a significant drop from the 83 million of its predecessor, the Playstation Portable.
In its final years, the handheld found new life as a source for niche games, with Japanese imports and smaller indie games finding a home on the platform.
But when Sony announced last year that production of all physical copies of Vita games would end March 31 of this year, the writing was on the wall.
Sony executives have previously said they have no plans to create a new handheld device, instead focusing their efforts on the Playstation 4 and its rumoured follow-up.
The move leaves competitor Nintendo alone in the handheld market, with their Switch console bridging the gap between the traditional handheld and console markets.