Back in my day there was only one kind of handheld system… okay only one system that didn’t suck and eventually fade into obscurity. The Nintendo Gameboy has been dominating the handheld market for years. Or sure you could play some games on your Texas Instrument or an oddly shaped single game handheld but that is boring. Then out of nowhere a new challenger appeared out of the most unlikely of places, Sony; starting with the PSP, then the PSP Go which was a terrible disaster and now the Vita. While it does alright it is fair to say that the Vita can’t even compare with Nintendo. Lately the Vita has only been seeing real sales bumps when games players really want come out, namely Final Fantasy and the like. They also made an effort with the PS TV which was an interesting idea and now that the price has dropped so much is very intriguing to many people. I still don’t understand why a controller that mimics the missing functions of the Vita can’t be made but whatever.
Not only that but now between smart phones and tablets taking over the hand held market there is some speculation the Vita or Sony handhelds in general might not make it much longer. Most people already have a phone so why pay for another device that does less of the same? Since many similar games and even some large name games can be played straight on a person’s phone it is unlikely they would carry around an entire other system. I already have GTA San Andreas on my phone but I can’t find the right controller attachment. Nintendo is still safe to a point because they have nearly exclusive rights on huge titles like Pokemon and Zelda. However, even Pokemon has recently announced they will be making an actual smart phone game. Entire studious like Konami have even begun to switch their focus towards smart phone games (supposedly this played a part in the falling out with Metal Gear creator Kojima). While it is unlikely these spin offs of Nintendo games will do very well brand recognition alone promises some kind of following.
While Nintendo has stayed the course though Sony has taken this lesson to heart and has tried to make the Vita into an all in one type device. Instead of just games they want to try to draw people in with an entire package of media goodies; again though it is just less of the same thing a phone does. An interesting trend though is the sudden rise in Vita sales after the PS4 remote play feature was added (which also affected the PS TV). As of now though it seems there is no future plans for the next Vita. There are a lot of games for the Vita but many of them come from Japan. Not to mention that most Vita games now are designed to also work on the TV which removes many of the hardware features that made the Vita unique from the 3DS. Is there still a future in hand held gaming for the Vita or will Nintendo claim another victim? New colored Vita’ will be released soon but will that be enough to sway people? Is there anything Sony can really do upgrade the Vita at this point? I have a strong suspicion that black Friday this year will include some heavy deals on the Vita but is there much of a future for it anymore besides being a second screen for the PS4?