Sony has officially ended production of the PlayStation Vita, the portable gaming console that struggled to reach the same success as its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable.
The two remaining SKUs of the PlayStation Vita are now declared officially discontinued on the device’s official product page, Polygon noticed. This marks the end of life for the portable gaming console, which was launched in the U.S. on February 15, 2012.
The PlayStation Vita was once considered the best portable gaming console in the market, with our 2012 review placing it far ahead of its competition at the time, the Nintendo 3DS. However, while it improved upon almost every aspect compared to the PlayStation Portable, it struggled for attention as it was launched right as mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets was hitting its stride.
The PlayStation Vita’s end of production was not a surprise. Sony stopped making games for the console in 2015, and said last year that production of all physical PlayStation Vita games will end by March 31 this year. February was also the last month that Sony gave away free PlayStation Vita games through the PlayStation Plus subscription service.
Sony no longer publishes individual platform sales in its investor reports, but research firms have placed the lifetime sales of the PlayStation Vita at somewhere between 10 million and 15 million units. In comparison, the PlayStation Portable is estimated to have sold over 80 million units from its 2004 launch in Japan until it was discontinued in 2014.
A patent for a new game cartridge that was filed by Sony in November last year briefly created excitement over a possible PlayStation Vita successor, but it was later pointed out that it may be for the children’s toy platform Toio. A Sony senior executive previously said that there are no plans to follow up the now-discontinued portable gaming console, and for now, it would appear that the company is holding this stance on the matter.
Sony might want to consider dipping its toes back in the portable market. Remember the success of the Nintendo Wii? The best Wii games are still great. Remember the failure of the Nintendo Wii U, and the massive bounce back by the Nintendo Switch? The success of the PlayStation Portable and the failure of the PlayStation Vita might be setting up Sony for something big in the future.