Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter doesn't think that the PS Vita will recover from its sluggish start. He believes that the handheld is going to die a "slow, painful death."
"Vita is a little bit too elegant and a little too expensive," Pachter told Game Informer. "I always feel like I'm going to break it. But then it has relatively few games because they are complicated to make and the market is so small. Very few publishers are spending money to make them. You had Assassin's Creed: Liberation, that cost Ubisoft a lot. It's a whole new adventure. Sony will spend the money with their internal studios, but you're just going to see [Vita] die a slow, painful death."
Pachter adds that Sony will never be able to lure casual gamers to their handheld. Smartphones are too versatile for the Vita to compete. What's more, smartphone users can just get a new model for free every two years. Spending $200 to get a Vita doesn't make sense for the casual gamer.
Some believed that the PS4 will revitalize the Vita. Sony bills the device as a second-screen for the PS4. Vita owners can use their handheld to remotely play console games when their TV is in use. Pachter doesn't think this feature is enough to justify the purchase, though.
Bottom line, Pachter says, there's no room for the Vita. Smartphones have cornered the casual game market while Nintendo's 3DS has a lock on the hardcore crowd, old and young.
"There is no future and [Sony] couldn't do any better [than Vita]. The market is what it is because of Nintendo. Nintendo built the market and Nintendo has the best name in handhelds. I just think [Sony] misjudged the size of the market and launched it into this s---storm of mobile destroying the casual end of dedicated handhelds. And Nintendo's not giving up much share on the hardcore side, because they have three games to every one Sony game, and they are good games."
I'm curious what Pachter thinks about PS Vita TV. This device, currently available in Japan, allows the owner to play PSP, PSOne and Vita games on a television. It's also capable of streaming PS4 games or running entertainment apps like Hulu. Though the handheld market might be tough for the Vita to survive in, I wonder whether the Vita TV could end up as a popular option for PlayStation fans wanting a cheap gaming device for their second television. It might be pointless to speculate about this now, though, as Sony has yet to announce plans to release the Vita TV in North America and Europe.