Sony's PlayStation Vita came rip-roaring onto the market back in late 2013. The portable device was supposed to be Sony's answer to Nintendo's 3DS, which preceded it by two years on the market. The handheld boasted some high-end features at the time of its release, including the much-requested dual thumbpads that operated like the standard analog sticks on the DualShock or Xbox controllers. But even with all of the high-end features the system sported, it still wasn't enough to catch up with the Nintendo 3DS in sales. It also wasn't able to maintain a steady flow of software to keep it competitive over the years. Even with Sony's initial aggressive marketing for the platform, it was recently made clear that the PlayStation Vita's waning support in recent years was a sign of the times and that the system is officially coming to an end.
Gematsu is reporting that the PlayStation Vita's manufacturing will come to an end in 2019, in Japan. According to Sony Interactive Entertainment senior vice president Hiroyuki Oda, there are no plans for a PlayStation Vita successor, which was revealed recently during an interview that Oda had with Famitsu, where they talked about portable gaming, and the PlayStation Classic.
This news shouldn't be too surprising, given that the PS Vita hasn't been featured at any of the major trade show events in the last couple of years in any significant way. Many gamers would ask about the Vita and its line-up of software, but Sony became increasingly reticent in talking about or supporting the portable with first-party software.
Eventually the only software support it received was from third-party publishers, and then eventually even that began to wane, resulting in the system running on fumes and skeletal game support in the last couple of years.
Publishers like Sega released titles like Valkyria Revolution and Koei Tecmo rolled out Blue Reflection in 2017, but those are niche games. The high-profile AAA portable outings like Uncharted and God of War practically dried up, and if you were into indies like SteamWorld Dig 2 or remastered re-releases like Full Throttle, you might have found a game or two to satiate your desire to play on a Sony portable while on the go. But otherwise the offerings were minuscule and almost all of the games were ports from other platforms.
Sony is now focusing solely on the PlayStation 4 at the moment, putting the Vita on the back burner and now aiming to shut down production in Japan for good come 2019. Most assume that once production in Japan ceases both Europe and the Americas will follow soon after.
According to Oda, Sony is intent on getting the PlayStation Classic out. That's why the company has no plans to announce a new handheld device. Even following the release of the PlayStation Classic, it doesn't sound like Sony will be pursuing handheld devices any longer, especially with the fierce competition and stranglehold that smartphones have on the market and with Nintendo's Switch and 3DS dominating the sales charts.