Vita Still Alive with No Sony Support

Sony may have finally decided to ax support for the PlayStation Vita, the handheld gaming device that has long been plagued by low sales, low third-party support, and low levels of interest in the gaming community.

According to reports, Sony has already stopped manufacturing Vita consoles in Spain. Vita has officially been discontinued in the country, PlayStation Spain confirmed via Twitter. It’s unclear whether other European countries will follow suit.

Sony launched Vita nearly seven years ago. The console has always been aimed at a niche market, but even so, the Vita brand struggled to truly take off. Though the Vita was a sensation when first released, it could never match up to the sales of the supremely popular Nintendo 3DS.

Sony has not made an official statement on the future of Vita consoles. Some Vita fans have taken the Spanish discontinuation as an early sign that Sony would halt production for good. The company did the same with the PlayStation 3. The console was first discontinued in Japan and was soon afterward discontinued around the world.

Vita has a dedicated fan base, but after Nintendo released the powerhouse Switch, the console’s future started looking increasingly grim. Vita still packs in a number of exclusives that fans love. The console is also known for highly rated games like Persona 4: Golden and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Vita is most popularly used in Japan, but even those sales have paled in comparison to the Nintendo Switch, which sold a record 3.4 million units in Japan in 2017. The Vita has considerably struggled to gain traction with mainstream console users in the past couple of years.

The Vita’s lack of success may have come as a surprise to Sony. The console is highly portable, more so than even the Switch. The console can be used to play PS4 games away from a TV screen. Vita is one of the few remaining consoles to support older PSP and PS One games like Resident Evil 2, God of War, and Parasite Eve. Despite these advantages, the Vita has been on the losing end of the console wars.

In 2017, the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, America Shawn Layden, admitted that the Vita was not as successful as the company had intended it to be. Layden told Time magazine that Vita couldn’t “reach critical mass” success in key markets in the US and western Europe. He described that keeping Vita afloat in this reality was “hard.”

Earlier this year, Sony announced that it would drop PS Plus support for the Vita and PS3 after March 8, 2019. Gaming titles already on a member’s PS Plus library would retain existing features. But no new titles would be added to the library for Vita and PS3 consoles from next March.

Sony also said in the press release that the company is focusing on the PS4, citing that most customers  use this console rather than the Vita or the PS3. It should be noted that Vita games may not necessarily be removed from the PlayStation Store.

The Vita is still widely available in the US and in certain other countries. The discontinuation only affects Spain. Sony has yet to release a statement on the future of Vita.

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