Sony's Epitaph for the Vita and Handheld Gaming: "It’s a Business We’re no Longer in Now"

Sony's Epitaph for the Vita and Handheld Gaming: "It’s a Business We’re no Longer in Now"

Remember the Vita? Jim Ryan does.

December 3, 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the original PlayStation, and as such, there's no shortage of retrospective content out there. Speaking with GameInformer for the anniversary, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan gave a brief eulogy for the Vita that suggests Sony sees itself as completely done with handhelds for the time being.

In GameInformer's extensive oral history looking back on Sony's family of PlayStation hardware, both the PS Vita and its predecessor the PSP only get short asides. The Vita's is the smaller of the two. Ryan's comment manages to be both complimentary and bluntly dismissive.

PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but clearly it's a business that we're no longer in now.

The end for the PS Vita itself came earlier this year when Sony ended production of the handheld in March, which coincided with the previously-announced end date for free Vita titles offered to PS Plus subscribers.

Former SIE president and CEO Andrew House also tells GameInformer that Ken Kutaragi "was notably reluctant" about entering the handheld market with the PSP. Acording to House, Kutaragi (then the chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment) accurately predicted how smartphones would upend the mobile gaming market:

I think was that he had genuinely foreseen the rise of smartphones before anyone had heard about the iPhone. I remember him talking about there was going to be a convergence between all forms of media and entertainment into a single communications device.

In 2017, House himself went on to cite the prevalence of smartphones as one reason why Sony wasn't looking to compete with the Nintendo Switch by way of a new handheld or similar hybrid console.

With the PlayStation 5 on the horizon and Sony reconfiguring its streaming efforts with PlayStation Now, it likely comes as now surprise to hear that the company sees itself as withdrawn from the handheld business. The Vita itself wasn't half bad, and perhaps some of those "many ways" Ryan says it was brilliant will go on to influence future additions to the PlayStation family.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

Related articles

Netflix Is Working on a Live-Action Assassin's Creed Series

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Both Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21 Hit Next-Gen This December

Next-gen sports will arrive a little after launch.

Grounded's Next Update Adds an Intimidating Koi Fish to the Pond

Also, underwater spiders. Spiders that can swim. Water spiders.

Obsidian's Grounded Will Be "Next-Gen Ready" For Xbox Series X and S

The tiny odyssey will be ready for the big new consoles.

You may also like

Starting Screen | Starting Screen | Facebook Just Can't Resist Meddling With Oculus

If Facebook wants to become a serious gaming fixture, the least it could do is not squander its VR credibility.

The Top 25 PlayStation 2 Games of All Time

Celebrating 20 years with 25 of the PS2's best games.

Sony Delays PS5 Launch Title Destruction AllStars to February

On top of the delay, it'll also be launching as a free title through PlayStation Plus.