In the past few months, there had been a growing rumor that the Playstation Vita will soon be discontinued by Sony. There had been many reports of a steady decline of Vita’s hardware and game availability from numerous retail stores in North America. On the other hand, its rival the Nintendo 3DS, still continues to steadily make a good number of sales. So what caused the downfall of the Vita?
Since the early days of the “Console Wars”, Sony has always relied on the superiority of their hardware to promote their products – better graphics, faster processors. While this is still true today on their handheld devices, it is somehow no longer significant to the consumers as reflected in the market figures. The initial reception for the Playstation Vita was quite good with combined sales of more than 500,000 units in North America and Japan! From there however, figures had a general decline in the succeeding years. Here are some of the factors that may have contributed to the downfall of the Vita:
Emergence of Mobile Games
Mobile phones are considered to be one of most essential devices of this generation. Its emergence heralded the demise of many technologies in the past – pagers, FM radios, digital cameras and PDAs, among others. This also poses a threat to handheld consoles now that the market for mobile games rises in popularity not only for casual gamers but to hardcore ones as well. Many consumers would rather purchase a phone with tons of practical uses that one that is designed specifically for games. Titles like Mobile Strike and Clash Royale are the favoured on-the-go games for many gamers.
Let’s face it. When people hear the word Nintendo, a face of Mario instantly pops out of their minds. One of the strongest reasons why Nintendo kept a tight grip on the handheld market was their own set of exclusive titles. The Pokemon video game franchise alone has sold about 279 million games worldwide as of February 2016. This together with Monster Hunter, Super Mario, Super Smash Brothers and The Legend of Zelda, among others ensure that a steady number of fans will support their devices. Sony might also have notable exclusives under their name, but numbers prove that it is not enough to keep them afloat in the market.
Apparently, hardware superiority is also one of the downfalls of the Vita. Its advanced specifications made it harder for developers to create games. They find it harder to utilize some of the PS Vita’s features. It also poses a great risk for game developers to produce a high budget title given the uncertainty of Vita’s consumer base. This is possibly one of the reasons why Nintendo chose to produce cheaper consoles and focused their strength more on innovative ideas.