Sony isn't making another PlayStation Vita handheld, says company bigwig Andrew House, and will continue its bullish focus on the PlayStation 4-centered ecosystem.
Even the Nintendo Switch's global superstar success isn't enough to convince Sony to re-enter the handheld business. The console-maker feels that traditional handhelds simply aren't a big enough market opportunity for the current games industry landscape, although handheld gaming certainly was during the Vita and 3DS' heyday (the Nintendo 3DS currently has over 67 million units sold). The Nintendo Switch, which is projected to sell more than 10 million units in its first year, is a unique strategy because it's a hybrid and not just a handheld--at least that's what Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House thinks. Maybe that's why Sony filed these patents for a transforming Vita handheld.
"The Nintendo device is a hybrid device and that's a different approach and strategy," Mr. House said in an interview with Bloomberg. Outside of Asia, where the Vita is still sold and games are still made, the Vita just isn't big enough to support. "We have not seen that as being a huge market opportunity," he said.
Mr. House said that smartphones essentially phased the Vita out in non-Asian regions. "The Vita experience was that outside of Japan and Asia, there was not a huge demand. The lifestyle shift toward the dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you, was the determining factor."
Sony's current video games business strategy is anchored by the PlayStation 4 family of consoles, which now includes three units: the original 2013 model, the "slim" model refresh, and the higher-end PlayStation 4 Pro released in 2016. The PS4 console family, which has shipped more than 63.3 million units worldwide, is the nexus of Sony's lucrative billion-dollar subscription- and software-laden Games and Network Services segment. This segment includes an ecosystem of game, music, and movie streaming that are all tethered to the console, as well as the popular PlayStation Plus service.