Sony CEO's Comments Suggest Vita May Be Sony's Last Attempt at Handheld Gaming

A look around the typical store in North America shows one thing: Sony and retailers are so, so over the PlayStation Vita. Consumers often feel differently, though, and there remains a dedicated following that expects Sony to jump back into the fray with a successor to keep the good times rolling. Unfortunately, new comments from Andrew House, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, suggest those fans might not want to hold their breath.

“The Vita experience was that outside of Japan and Asia, there was not a huge demand,” House said in an interview with Bloomberg Technology. “The lifestyle shift toward the dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you was the determining factor.”

Sony’s Vita, though a powerful (especially during its rough launch year) and capable device, has faced stiff competition from not only tablets and smartphones, but the Nintendo 3DS/2DS family, which has sold an approximated 65.7 million units worldwide according to VGChartz. Vita, meanwhile, has sold just under a quarter of that number.

In living rooms, the battle has gone much differently, at least until recently. Around 63 percent of the current generation of consoles sold worldwide have been PlayStation 4 units, a figure that shows Sony has performed a little more than twice as well as Microsoft, its nearest competitor in that sphere. Nintendo has begun seeing spectacular sales for its recently launched Switch hardware, but Sony isn’t worried.

“The folks at Nintendo have their strategy and that’s great,” House said, while noting that Switch’s sales appear to have been additive to the business without impacting Sony console sales. “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.”

What do you think? Would you like to see another Sony handheld, or are you happy leaving portable gaming to smartphones, the 3DS, and the Nintendo Switch? Is Sony missing an opportunity, or bowing out of the race when it makes sense to do so?

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