Skip to main content

See also:

The PS Vita is dead, long live the PS Vita

The PS Vita on display at the Tokyo Game Show last year.
The PS Vita on display at the Tokyo Game Show last year.
Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Anyone who followed this year's E3 can tell you the sad truth: Sony's PS Vita is dead. Sony spent exactly zero minutes talking about the Vita, its current hand-held platform and follow-up to the original PSP, at its E3 conference. Instead, the focus was all on the PS4, the next-gen console thats currently leading the race, with the Xbox One following close behind and the Wii U slowly gaining on it.

The list of reasons why the Vita failed are numerous, but the biggest is also the most obvious: there are no killer games. Sure, as Vita fans will point out, technically the Vita library extends to all PS4 games through remote play, but actual Vita-exclusive hits are few and far between. The install base of the Vita is so small that Sony doesn't really have much incentive to work on first-party exclusive games for the platform. Instead, Sony has turned the Vita into an expensive accessory for its flagship home console through features like cross-play and re- mote play.

At the same time that the Vita is surely dying, its game library received a shot to the arm with the announcement of the Playstation TV. Originally released in Japan as the VitaTV, the Playstation TV is a $99 streaming box that is essentially a Vita without the screen. By removing the Vita's touchscreens and pairing the box with a DualShock 3, Sony is crippling the games that make Vita unique and giv- ing the rest of the library a chance at life with the cheap, starter console. It's a brilliant strategy - a chance to repackage its failing handheld into an actual ac- cessory for homes with second TVs - that gives reason for the Vita library's existence while killing the actual hardware it was originally designed to serve. For fans of the Vita, this news is decidedly bittersweet. Their game library will surely continue to grow, but at the expense of the console that they have dedicated themselves to. Vita games might live on, but Sony is digging a grave for the hardware.