After Vita, where does Sony’s handheld development go?
I know this subject is going to light a fire under a lot of PS Vita fans. I don’t like to see the handheld in its current state either. But that’s just where we are, where we have to question what non-first party handheld device Sony will potentially put their mobile games in the future.
I’d love to see Sony give traditional handheld gaming another, more proper go. Release a PSP2 (or PSP3?) in a few years with solid hardware but everything they’re doing with the PS Vita indicates that they simply don’t care about making their own handhelds anymore. They’ve admitted that they aren’t making anymore AAA games for the Vita and they don’t seem keen on shipping Vita 2000 units to any other region than Japan, where the handheld remains respectably strong.
So the Vita is pretty much non-existent, even as an accessory to the PS4, in North America and Europe. In Japan it still lives on as its own unique device but Japan isn’t the only region Sony will want to sell a potential Vita successor. Pardon me if Sony’s recent treatment of the Vita doesn’t fill me with confidence for a Vita successor.
If Sony doesn’t release a successor to the PS Vita and this is their last handheld, what do they do with all their handheld gaming output?
The easiest and most logical answer is that Sony would simply have teams that would normally work on Vita games make their projects for PS4. This makes sense from a first party stand point though some of the teams may not have projects that lend themselves to the bigger budgets of PS4 game development.
If Sony wants to develop a quirky, mobile friendly, low budget title what will they do with it? I’d imagine they’d release it for iOS or Android. Maybe they’d simply add them to PS Now as some sort of PS Now “exclusives” program that are only available through a subscription fee.
The final, least likely but still interesting scenario would be for Sony to put some games on whatever Nintendo handheld is out at the time. I’m not talking about the 3DS, this would probably be a few years from now and on the 4DS/HDS or whatever Nintendo calls it. If Sony wants to move a couple hundred thousand copies of a game at $40 versus $2 on mobile, they’d have to go with Nintendo if they didn’t have their own handheld right?
This isn’t entirely out of the question. Microsoft made a few games for the Nintendo DS years ago, letting the walls between console makers crumble for a bit just to make some quick profit off Viva Pinata or Age of Empires for the DS. Would Sony follow suit and do this as well with their smaller, more mobile-friendly games?
Personally I’d bet on most smaller, would-be-Vita titles hitting PS4/PS5 in the future should Sony opt to not release a PS Vita successor. If they do want to release cheaper titles I could see some hitting iOS or Android though the possibility of some Sony games on a Nintendo handheld is almost too tantalizing to ignore. As is, I can’t really see Sony making a successor to the PS Vita based on their recent actions. I’d love to be proven wrong on that but until Sony gives me reason to stop believing this then I’ll just have to wonder what platform, be it first party or not, will land the big free agent that is Sony’s handheld software output.