A successor to the PlayStation Vita is unlikely to materialize anytime soon due to the surge in popularity of mobile gaming, says Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS).
The executive was quizzed about the possibility of a PS Vita 2 during a Q&A panel at the recent EGX in Birmingham, U.K. over the weekend (via IGN).
"That’s a tough question. People have mobile phones and it’s so easy to play games on smartphones. And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start.
"I myself am a huge fan of PlayStation Vita and we worked really hard on designing every aspect," he enthused. "Touch-based games are fun – there are many games with really good design. But having sticks and buttons make things totally different.
"So I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming."
PS Vita began life as the Next-Generation Portable (NGP) and was announced during a Sony press event in January 2011. At the time, the format holder championed its upcoming portable games device as a powerful console capable of replicating PS3-quality visuals, as evidenced by the footage of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots demoed during the event.
Sony later confirmed that its new handheld would be named PlayStation Vita during E3 2011, and unveiled a slew of major content for the system, including instalments in the Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and Killzone franchises. The system launched in the west in 2012 and got off to a pretty solid start, although sales quickly cooled and the handheld never really managed to achieve the same success as its predecessor.
It wasn’t helped that some of the so-called ‘Triple-A’ titles such as Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified turned out to be extremely disappointing, while the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 failed to stimulate sales despite a solid reception. Still, the handheld did offer some brilliant exclusives, such as Tearaway, Gravity Rush and Killzone: Mercenary. Sony would remain optimistic despite low sales of the device, assuring it felt PS Vita had a place in the handheld market.
In the past year or so, it became evident that Sony had shifted the focus of PS Vita from a dedicated games device to more of a hub for indie developers and a companion for the PS4, thanks to the ‘Remote Play’ functionality. Indeed, the company later reaffirmed its stance with PS Vita by confirming it had no major first-party titles in development for the system. It also admitted that it had hoped for the handheld to sell more units.