The writing was on the wall for a while. Even though you know it’s coming, you’re still never fully prepared. Sony has officially announced the end of production for their PlayStation Vita, effective Saturday. Sony announced that the two remaining SKUs have been discontinued on the official PlayStation Vita product page.
The original Vita (PCH-1000) launched in Japan on Dec. 17, 2011, and in North America on Feb. 15, 2012. A revised slimline model (PCH-2000) followed in 2013 and 2014. Though it advanced on the PlayStation Portable’s ideal of bringing console-quality video games, visuals and experiences to a handheld, the PlayStation Vita struggled for attention. Mobile video gaming at the time of its launch was flourishing on smartphones and tablets, making a dedicated gaming handheld more of a niche product than it was in the century’s first decade.
“Vita just didn’t reach that critical mass with the audience,” Shawn Layden, the chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s worldwide studios, told Polygon in a 2017 interview. “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.”
In 2018, Sony announced the end of production of physical games for the PlayStation Vita, which was figured to be March 31, 2019. That was around the same time that Sony revealed that Vita games would no longer be included in their monthly free PlayStation Plus bundle, along with PlayStation 3 games. That came to an end at the end of February 2019.
The Vita never achieved the success like the original PSP, only selling 16.1 million units. Much of it was the result of bad timing, which led to lack of support by Sony and many third-party developers. It is very unfortunate. The device itself is slick and packs a lot of power. Outside of Nintendo, Sony was the only company that produced a handheld portable.
RIP PlayStation Vita. We’’ see you at the crossroads.