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Sony will exit portable gaming market in 2019, leaving market open to Nintendo



PlayStation Vita announcement, 2011
Former Sony Computer
Entertainment Inc. (SCE) Group CEO Andrew House, left, and SCE
Japan President Hiroshi Kawano debuted the PlayStation Vita
during a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Sept. 14,

AP Photo/Itsuo

  • Sony’s PlayStation group has a major hit on its hands
    with the PlayStation 4. It’s the most popular game console in
    the world by a long shot.
  • On the flipside, Sony’s handheld gaming console — the
    PlayStation Vita — has faded into history.
  • The end of Vita production in 2019 will mark Sony’s
    exit from the portable gaming market.
  • As of 2019, the only gaming company making dedicated
    portable gaming consoles will be Nintendo.

Sony’s PlayStation group is laser-focused on the PlayStation 4,
and with good reason — it’s the most popular game console in the

It’s so popular, in fact, that you probably forgot about the
PlayStation Vita.

That’s the other console that Sony makes. It’s a
dedicated portable game console that’s able to power beautiful,
near-console quality games. You can even stream PlayStation 4
games on it! And it’s about to reach its end of life.

“In Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019. From
there, shipping will end,” Sony Interactive Entertainment
senior vice president Hiroyuki Oda told Japanese
video game magazine Famitsu
. Moreover, Sony apparently has no
plans to replace the Vita with something newer.

“Currently, we do not have any plans regarding a new handheld
device,” Oda told Famitsu. Sony has yet to officially announce
its exit from the portable gaming market, and reps didn’t respond
to request for comment as of publishing.

If that is indeed the case, which it appears to be, that’s a
pretty big deal: It means Nintendo is the only company left
making handheld game consoles.

Nintendo Switch
In advertisements, Nintendo showcased how people could
play the Nintendo Switch at home and anywhere


Sony’s been the only competition for Nintendo’s handheld consoles
for the past 15 years.

Starting in late 2004 with the launch of the PlayStation Portable
handheld, Sony offered a high-tech counterargument to Nintendo’s
low-tech, family-friendly Nintendo DS handheld.

The PSP launched with games from major PlayStation franchises
like “Twisted Metal” and “Ridge Racer,”and featured gorgeous
graphics. Its massive, colorful screen was a revelation in the
years before smartphones were ubiquitous. But the PSP’s high
price, disc-based media format (so-called “universal media discs”
or UMD), and expensive games kept the console from competing with
Nintendo’s DS — and a subsequent lack of new games on the PSP
relegated it to second place permanently.

The PlayStation Vita continued that tradition when it launched in

Major Sony franchises like “Uncharted,” “Wipeout,” and “Hot
Shots” all got entries on the Vita. Visuals were similarly
impressive — far better than Nintendo’s 3DS competitor — but high
prices for the console and its games limited the Vita’s appeal.
It didn’t help that Nintendo had Pokémon on its 3DS.

But it was indie games that really highlighted the brilliance of
the Vita: Games like “Hotline Miami,” “Spelunky,” and “The
Binding of Isaac” were perfect for Sony’s handheld. 

They were easy to pick up and play on-the-go — a crucial function
of portable games, as any smartphone gamer can attest.
“Uncharted” offered a graphical showcase of the Vita’s power, but
felt like a console game shoehorned into a portable; games like
“Don’t Starve” felt natural on the Vita specifically because they
weren’t trying to deliver a blockbuster experience.

nintendo 3ds
Nintendo’s 3DS handheld consoles remain the most
popular handheld consoles of the past decade. The 3DS has sold
over 72 million units, whereas the PlayStation Vita is estimated
to have sold under 20 million.


After nearly two decades of trying to crack the handheld gaming
market, it looks like Sony is finally giving in to

After all, with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo created a brand new
market where a home game console is also a portable
game console. It’s a shrewd move in a world where nearly everyone
has a killer game console in their pocket, and it’s a leap that
Sony never made. 

But with the PlayStation 4 firmly on top, Sony’s incentive to
compete with both Nintendo and the ubiquity of smartphones for a
spot in the fickle world of portable gaming is nonexistent.

It’s no surprise that Sony appears to be throwing in the towel.

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