Back in the olden days, Sony produced handheld portable gaming consoles that were the dream for many. Everyone wanted a handheld gaming console in their toy collection as a child. However, Sony is no longer seems interested in making those handheld consoles anymore for some reason which is odd considering they once used to be the bestsellers and dominated the market. Why did they do it?
The short answer is – “They have discontinued its line of handheld gaming consoles, the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) to update into something new.”
We are going to discuss why Sony discontinued PlayStation Handhels in this article.
Where Are The Sony PlayStation Handhelds?
If we look back at the history of handheld gaming, we see that PlayStation made quite a buzz in the earlier days of portable gaming. So, now that portable gaming is on the trend again, why aren’t they making any more of it?
PSP and PS Vita, What Actually Happened?
Sony just did not take the decision of discontinuing their famous handheld portable gaming consoles out of nothing. As they witnessed the demand of the portable gaming market, Sony officially announced their development in progress for PSP in E3, 2003. Next year in December, PSP was officially got released. Its console-like gaming experience on a small portable device, immediately made it the ultimate successor, selling over 500,00 thousand in the first two days, and as of July 2022, it sold over 80 million units across the world, according to VGChartz.
But at that time, PlayStation wasn’t the only one that was dominating the handheld market. Nintendo on the other hand was also showcasing its new release, Nintendo DS, which was a big success for them as well. However, the PSPs impressive graphical performance on a 4.3 -inch LCD screen featuring 480 by 272-pixel resolution was truly a game changer for a handheld device, which is why it was an instant success for PlayStation, although they have never managed to outsell the Nintendo DS.
As Sony’s PSP managed to reach the peak of success pretty quickly, it didn’t take much time to fall. It all began with the piracy of the games when hackers were able to exploit the PSP with unauthorized software.
Later, Sony released many firmware updates in order to fight back, which initially was a success, but hackers kept on exploiting the PSP and at one point Sony realizes that the battle was unwinnable. And later in 2011, Sony released their all-new portable gaming handheld the PS Vita, which wasn’t as successful as the PSP.
According to VGChartz, only 16 million units have been sold in total and which is pretty low compared to the big numbers of PSPs and there are multiple reasons for that. “MakeUseOf” published an article about why PS Vita failed to succeed. Here they pointed out 9 reasons addressing PS Vita’s failure.
Among them, a few of the main causes were the Dominance of Nintendo 3Ds, which was fans’ favorite for the time being. The next one is, it was marketed in the wrong way. While it was a handheld device, Sony advertised it as a “piece of hardware capable of providing a portable home console experience”, which ultimately made it a premium device with a whooping 250-dollar price tag. As a result, it cost almost as similar as the Xbox 360 or PS3.
So buying a handheld with the same price range as a home console was a bit questionable decision for many gamers. Not only that, but the high-priced memory for the PS Vita was also another reason for its downfall, which made fans less interested.
Later as the went by, Sony released the PlayStation 4, which was a huge turn of events for them. At that point, Sony realized their potential in making home consoles and completely gave up on making other gaming devices such as PSP and Vita. According to the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan, “This is a business that PlayStation is no longer in now.”. And the PS5 is the ultimate result of it, which is currently the best-selling gaming console on the market. Not only that, this console was sold out immediately, and it also struggled to meet its production rate over its demand.
Backbone One: PlayStation Edition & Future Plan
It seems like Sony has never fully abandoned its interest in portable gaming. Last year, Sony partnered up with Backbone and designed a phone gaming controller featuring PlayStation 5 aesthetic, and design-wise, it looks very similar to Razer Kishi V2. This edition of “Backbone One” is only available for iPhone devices, which will let users stream games directly from PlayStation, PC, or Xbox on a phone.
So, could this be a hint for a major comeback about Sony’s approach towards the upcoming handheld market? Well, that is something nobody knows at this point. However, there is a possibility Sony might actually try to tighten up their grip on this field once again. We will be back for more when there will be more information available to discuss. Till then, all we can do is witness what the future of portable gaming handheld holds for us.
Striving for the future or going for something new rather than joining the rat race in creating the same product is one of the vital reasons behind Sony’s discontinuing their PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Vita. Even though PSP and Ps Vira were famous among game lovers, Sony decided to focus on its home consoles and other products. Despite the discontinuation, Sony kept supporting the PS Vita by providing updates and providing downloadable games.