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Following the lackluster success of the original 2011 PlayStation Vita, could we expect a redemption arc with the release of a PS Vita 2? Fans of the Vita still pine for Sony to bring out a successor, but they could be pinning their hopes on a pipe dream. Rumors of a new Sony console were stirred at the 2023 PlayStation showcase, turning thoughts toward the potential of a revised PS Vita even though the device was culled from production in 2019. However, things didn’t pan out exactly as expected.
Sony has attempted to address the holes in its handheld market with its launch of the PlayStation Portal, a streaming accessory for the PS5 that can’t actually run games natively. The demand for the hybrid streaming controller has been high following its release, but can we expect this to drop off? It doesn’t seem that the Portal really provides much of a viable alternative to the Switch or the lineup of portable gaming PCs, including the ASUS Rog Ally and the Steam Deck, in the way that a PS Vita 2 could. Unfortunately, there’s no promise that ‘alternatives’ will be worth the investment in a handheld market that is by no means lacking in competitors. So, here are our thoughts on whether or not a revised PS Vita model could still be on the cards.
Will there be a PS Vita successor?
Sony has long held its stance on keeping its distance from the handheld console market, and the launch of the PlayStation Portal has dampened any hope of there being a true successor to the PS Vita (for a good few years, at least). The PS5 streaming-only device has shown Sony taking the Cloud-based gaming approach rather than creating a dedicated PlayStation handheld. It’s an expensive $200 accessory to an expensive $500 console, but it does add a level of versatility to PS5 gaming that the platform didn’t have before. It adds a new element to its flagship console that’s recently hit three years old and shows that Sony is still dedicated to building out its PS5 ecosystem, probably with the ultimate goal of overtaking the PS2 as the best-selling game console of all time
With the handheld competition venturing into an altogether new ‘genre’ of hardware, the hypothetical PlayStation PS Vita 2 would have to go for either the extreme of a hardcore gaming system, or settle for something that would bridge the Steam Deck and the Switch. We of course can’t put it past Sony to do this, but given the recent launch and possible success of the PS Portal, this day doesn’t seem like any time in the near future.
Why did Sony abandon the Vita?
Sony stopped the production of the PS Vita in 2019, after the device sold an estimate of 10-15 million consoles. While this figure may seem big, it’s small compared to the impressive 154 million copies of the Nintendo DS that have been sold throughout its lifetime. Ultimately, the Vita was expensive and difficult to make games for resulting in a limited library of games, and was seen as a bit of a misstep for Sony, rather than a leap in progress. The PS Vita didn’t reach the level of critical acclaim of the Nintendo DS family, or any handhelds since, leading the company to instead focus on its home video console range – to much more success than the Vita ever achieved.
Is a PS Vita 2 on the way? It has to be said, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely – at least not for a solid few years as we follow the success trajectory of the PlayStation Portal. Furthermore, the handheld console market only continues to become more complex, and there’s not exactly a niche for Sony to fill with a PS Vita 2. But let’s be honest, if there was actually a new PlayStation handheld console, people would probably still buy it. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the Portal misses the mark with its Cloud gaming capabilities before we return to speculating on a new handheld device that holds the precious PlayStation nametag.