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Sony's support for PS Vita officially ends next month: what lessons can its failure offer PS5?

GamesRadar reflects on the successes and failures of Sony's ill-fated handheld game console, released over half a decade ago, and what PS5 can learn from it all

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Apocalypse Shadow26d ago (Edited 26d ago )

PS5 doesn't need to learn anything from PS Vita. Just look at PS4 as proof that Sony has home console gaming covered.

Vita came out at a time of the rise of faster and bigger smart phones and tablets that we're capable of playing games. And most were free with ads or cheap to buy. Even if they would have spent millions making console level Vita games, the portable gaming market would still have taken a hit.

And on the other end, Nintendo still owning the portable gaming market. There were and are no other competitors in that space except for Sony. No Sega portable. No NEC portable. No SNK portable. Nothing. Times change.

When I was selling electronics, smart phones ended up killing GPS sales, camera sales, portable TV sales, mp3 player sales, calculator sales, Kindle reader sales, etc. All those items ended up on clearance because no one wanted to buy them after smart phones got bigger and better. But I sold tons of phones. Change happens. America moved on to phones Especially Iphone and Android phones like Galaxy.

PS5 doesn't have to worry about games, doesn't have to worry about online gaming, doesn't have to worry about phones catching up to its power and will have VR covered because portables wiill buckle trying to offer the same experiences as a home unit. And it will be years before they would have to worry about streaming.

There's nothing to learn. Sony has already learned what works and what will work for the home market. And has the right people in place to be ready for next Gen.

sprinterboy25d ago

Couldn't have said it better.

AnthonyDavis25d ago

Sony should make another “PS3”. Something just as powerful as the current high end computers and release for $800.

Atom66625d ago

Rah rah rah!

They learned the same thing MS should be learning, and it's a lesson that they should never forget: software sells hardware. The Switch and 3ds aren't succeeding in the face of scary smartphones and tablets because of brand alone. Hell, Wii U wouldn't have bombed if Nintendo's name was that strong.

I was one of those 200k day one purchasers of PSV. It was a no brainer at the time. The 3ds was weaker, gimmicky, and in a precarious situtation around that same time. People talked about smartphone domination then too.

But what happened? What did Nintendo do? Blame the rise of tablets and smartphones and relegate new software to indies and 3rd party japanese ports?

No. Nintendo cut the price and dumped resources into 1st party games, 3rd party agreements, and in providing a heavily supported dedicated gaming platform.

Blame the market if you want, but PSV lacked committed support from Sony. That's a lesson I don't doubt they've learned from, and it's one that I hope they never forget.

PSV will forever be one of my favorite platforms, and it's a shame that it was treated like it was. I'll be buying a PS5, but you do us no favors by trying to absolve Sony of all responsibility for the Vita's failures.

Loktai25d ago

PSV is underrated as a portable RPG monster. Absolute blast and the screen still looks good today, with its OLED(I know later slim models axed it ).great system weak in western 3rd party support . Still it got a tooooon of games considering it's sales . Notre than Dreamcast for instance and people including myself talk about DC like some kind of second coming .

Atom66625d ago

I'm right there with you. I will forever be cursed by loving some notoriously under performing systems like Vita, DC, Saturn, OG Xbox, etc.

Vita is great for JRPGs, but also equally great with action platformers and puzzle games. Really, if you enjoy Japanese games generally, it is a must own platform.

rainslacker25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

It didn't lack support from Sony at first. People wouldn't accept any game that Sony did put on it as support. There were quite a few great 1st and 2nd party games for the system in the first couple years, but it was always, "It has no games".

I think Sony did give up trying too soon, and that was likely more due to the fact that they were having great success with the PS4, so they just refocused on that, leaving the Vita to die.

There were many mistakes that Sony made with the Vita, and most of them were actually in trying to prevent piracy, which made the system more expensive, and needlessly complicated for something that should just be simple....like the 3DS was.

Things they did right was marketing and game support(in the first couple years). Price was OK, except for those damn memory cards, and no internal storage, and when they finally did have internal storage, it was paltry. While I love the OLED screen, they should have opted for LED, and added internal storage. Should have worked harder for more variety in 3rd party support, because from western devs, we didn't see a lot of big name titles. I'm still sad that a Bioshock game was never made for it.

Apocalypse Shadow25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

Nintendo was struggling at the beginning until they dropped the price. That's why it started selling. But 3DS(73 million) didn't sell as much as Gameboy advance(82 million) which didn't sell as much as Gameboy.(119 million)

And what has happened since then, Nintendo made a hybrid to cover not having a powerful home console and covering the weakened sales of portables. Right after failing with Wii U. But that doesn't change the fact that every generation, Nintendo owned the market.

But Nintendo is going to find out soon enough that the portable market will get smaller and smaller no matter what they do as it already has.

Knushwood Butt25d ago

Let's not forget the gaming media in the early days. They crapped on everything Vita for ridiculous reasons like the games weren't revolutionary.

I had a blast with stuff like Unit 13 but I remember it getting crapped on.

badz14924d ago

Sony just didn't support it enough. they gave up on it too early IMO. the PSP was amazing with console level games many times than not, looking better than PS2 games. had tons of fun with the PSP and its games and I was kinda baffled as why would anyone choose the DS over the PSP.

the prospect of having more power and more intuitive gameplay options thanks to the innovations on the Vita was mouthwatering to me. bought mine day 1 and still have it today. the first time playing Uncharted, KZM, Unit13, Gravity Rush, Rayman Origins, LBP, One Piece, Tearaway etc...and cross-buy PS3 games like R&C, PSABR, Sly4...it was truly a revelation! and the native BC with PSP games was also a huge bonus. DS and 3Ds will never have anything like those games! NOT EVEN CLOSE! Uncharted GA and Everybody's Gold Invitational were still one of the most innovative handheld games to date IMO. people might call them gimmicky gameplay but they work to the full capability of the Vita and no other games quite like them, not even now.

but the narrative from the haters was..."3DS was better because its games are catered for a handheld. Vita only plays watered-down console games. those games should of better made for the more powerful PS3 or PS4 bla bla bla.." but several years later, "Switch is the best because it plays console quality games on-the-go" and I said to that, SCREW YOU HYPOCRITES!

but Vita was out during a difficult time for Sony. it was due to PS3 unfortunately. while the integration with the PS3 was one of its main selling points, the PS3 was overshadowed by the 360 and Wii in the states and console gaming was fading fast in Japan while handheld was never that big to begin with in EU. so Sony decided to back the PS4 with all its might to bounce back from their low-point, the PS3 and unfortunately, the Vita fall victim to this. there are simply not enough games pushing it and Sony is not doing it any favor by not making any more games for it too. even multiplat games on it feel underwhelming. people nowadays praising the Switch as the perfect Indie machine like WTF? Vita has been doing that several years before the Swicth was even a thing.

hopefully the Vita is not Sony's last attempt at handheld. I hope they will revisit the market later on and do better than what they did with the Vita.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 24d ago
gamer780425d ago

wait what? Sony definitely needs to learn from their mistakes with the vita. I loved the handheld , but that was because of the third party support. Sony should have supported it with more first party content. They should have added headcount to their studios if the needed more resources to make higher budget games. The vita was a good device, that by all accounts, should have been great.

The Wood25d ago

If they were making another mobile device I'd agree with you but they're saying there's a correlation between the vita and the ps5. Wouldn't it make sense to compare apples to apples. . The ps4 or even the ps3 which would be stretching it.

Vegamyster25d ago

The Vita & 3DS came out within a year of each other, the 3DS did not start off great either and didn't really take off until its price drop followed by the OoT Remaster, Mario Kart ect which came out a little less than a year later. Sony was stubborn with prices (memory cards specifically), didn't support it that well past its first year and didn't advertise it properly, phones and tablets were not the reason it failed.

haydenlake25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

What about that excuse of a mid-gen refresh console, the PS4 Pro? "We want to keep players away from PC." My ass. It barely does 1440p and any 4K presentation suffers from blurry distant scenery and textures. That thing was Sony's attempt to cash in on the graphics rush; they will always revert back to their 2005 self whenever they're ahead. "Checkerboard rendering mitigates the need for native resolutions." I can't believe the people on this site actually defended a dithered sub-output over a native one: it's like defending a Chinese knock-off PS4, but so long as it has my favourite 3rd person wall crawlers, God of War, Uncharted and Horizon: Zero Dawn, right?

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 24d ago
isarai26d ago

Well i mean the issue with the Vita was mainly the proprietary storage format,

second was the real lack of that magic formula game on the go type of game. Everyone really seemed to be trying to fill the Monster Hunter Void but never quite hit the mark (which would have helped a bit but not enough to save it) when instead they should have focused on adventure games, cause honestly the most fun i've had on a portable system is Zelda, Pokemon, Y's(MY GAWD Y's!), Gravity rush,Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, etc. Games that i can sink countless hours into exploring but also have the ability to play in bite sized sessions. instead we kept getting games like they were made for a console, games that you have to reach checkpoints that take quite a while to get to, or missions that don't save till you beat a mission (Killzone mercenary was so frustrating cause i'd HAVE to spend like 30mins to beat the mission or else my progress isn't saved and i have to start the whole mission over again next time) we should've had open world(-ish) JRPG extravaganza on the vita, instead we got basic adventure games galore till the indie and JRPG devs latched on too late, even then most JRPGs were visual novel hybrids.

and third was the fact that it really wasn't THAT portable

None of these are issue that CAN even affect consoles, as they are inherent to the handheld platform only

SuperSonic9125d ago (Edited 25d ago )

Another main issue I have is the lack of video audio output to tv.
Huge huge disappointnent unlike PSP

isarai25d ago

My biggest disappointment is we still never figured out what the mystery port was for on the top of the launch version. All people know is it has no connection to video or power, so like WTF was it for?!

Loktai25d ago

Launch psp didn't have that either

rainslacker25d ago

@isarai

Some in the dev community speculated it was to use as a dev console for their then in beta PSMobile SDK. The port is used on the Vita dev kits for that purpose. It can also be used as an accessory slot for add ons, which was still kind of popular on mobiles in Japan, although most add ons were already part of the system, namely a camera.

There are quite a few consoles through history which had such ports that never got used. More recently though, USB has taken over for that purpose.

TheUndertaker8525d ago

@isarai: I’ve long speculated that the mystery port was going to be used for accessories but when the Vita failed to take off accessories were axed.

I’d imagine it was originally intended for such uses as an external UMD reader or proprietary video and audio out(the memory cards were already proprietary).

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 25d ago
Profchaos25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

I remember Killzone having a checkpoint system they were just poorly paced checkpoints I was playing it about a month ago actually and found it very frustrating the distance between checkpoints did not match the difficulty of the game especially on those tiny sticks.

Also that mystery port was confirmed to be a video output port that a device confirmed was abandoned because of the pstv

isarai25d ago

When was that confirmed?

NarooN25d ago

As a Killzone fan since day one, I can assure you pretty much every game in the series suffered from poorly-placed checkpoints, haha.

The mystery port was indeed for video out, devkit versions and members of the press used it for video capture from what I recall for press media recordings and things like that. I guess they would've released a cable for average consumers at some point like they did with the original PSP but they abandoned that in favor of the PSTV.

rainslacker25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

It could be used as that on dev systems, but I don't think it was abandoned because of PSTV. I think Sony just gave up trying to make it a thing, because they abandoned PSTV pretty quick, and within 6 months, you could get it just for the DS3 cheaper than a brand new DS3.

The port itself was thought to be there to enable dev system access through PSMobile once it went live, as that was its purpose with the dev kit SDK's. It acted as a communications port, although PSMObile actually used the USB connector.

Loktai25d ago

No the main issue was the name. Honestly.

Eidolon25d ago

For a Playstation device, yes, big time.

ps360owner0925d ago

@CrimsonWing69

Compared to their previous handheld the Sony psp which sold over 80 million and compared to the Nintendo 3ds (which is around 75 million sold) yes the PS Vita was a failure. It sold 15-16 million. As far as games Sony themselves stopped supporting it too early in my opinion after it failed to live up to their expectations. They decided to throw all of their backing behind the PS4. Gravity Rush was a series started on the PS Vita and Sony moved it's sequel to the PS4 only. That should give you a good idea of how they treated the PS Vita.

JackBNimble25d ago

No ,not in my opinion. I bought the vita for my son as an xmas gift a few years back and he still uses it and he loves it .
So say what you want but I got way more then my money's worth out of it.

Sw33tBoi25d ago (Edited 25d ago )

Im sure there were many like myself that got thousands of hours out of the Wii U. The system was still a failure. You can personally get everything you want from a product and it still be a commercial failure.

rainslacker25d ago

I played it more than the PS4 for a while. I still have a back log on it. I'd probably play it more, but Switch is actually taking up more of my mobile time now.

Love the system, and I definately got my moneys' worth. I find many people who own or owned one really did love the system, and used it a lot. There are some who don't like the kinds of games that primarily come out on the system, but for the most part, seems to be more of a cult classic type system than a bad system.

81BX25d ago

Uhhhhh yeah dude. It did have a really good uncharted game though

rainslacker25d ago

It's a great system, and commercially, I'd say it probably made them money because it had a pretty high attach rate, but generally speaking, in how we view these things, yes it was a failure. It made them money, but Sony obviously didn't feel it was enough, because they abandoned it in the west prematurely, and while Japan went strong for a while, and got plenty of support, Sony itself didn't bother making much software for it once the PS4 took off.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 25d ago
kayoss25d ago

Yes, the memory card will be cheaper now.

rainslacker25d ago

Don't count of it. If they go out of production, which they have, they'll likely go up as supply dwindles. You might be able to find some on clearance through retailers, but they're still kind of costly, and sometimes it's just cheaper to buy a used Vita with a card included than a brand new card.

Cmv3825d ago

Failure? If you don't go pick a bridge and leap