Games

PS Vita Very Good But Very Late, Says Former Sony Executive

By Bien R. Gruba III , Sep 29, 2016 12:00 PM EDT

PS Vita, like its predecessor the PSP,  was the dream handheld device for many avid video gamers. Many AAA titles in the PS2 and PS3 consoles found their way into the portable handheld device. 

The PS Vita seemingly had an unshakeable status until the proliferation of smartphone apps paved the way for casual gaming. The availability of free games that can be downloaded anytime for free quickly eroded the position of the Vita in the market.

Now a retired high ranking executive from Sony shared his thoughts about the rise and fall of the PS Vita and why he thought the handheld console was great but came in at the wrong time.

Former Sony executive Jack Tretton in a recent one-on-one interview in "IGN Unfiltered" shared that one of the most challenging moments of his career was during the development and sale of the PlayStation Vita.

Tretton spent 19 years working with the PlayStation and remembered well Sony's struggles to get the PS Vita off the ground especially since the PSP, its predecessor, was such a runaway hit.

PS Vita was released in December 2011 to compete with the Nintendo 3DS. Smartphones along with its community of apps were barely four years old but it was already clear that the world was shifting from dedicated gaming to casual gaming.

It did not also help that the PS Vita lacked the many features that smartphones had like internet browsing, SMS, and social media sharing options. Add also the fact that many smartphones today have specifications greater than the Vita but could now be bought at half the price.

The former CEO of Sony America was convinced that the excellent technology and engineering behind the Vita's creation made it a great portable gaming machine. However, he did admit, sadly, that unlike the PSP's time, the Vita came when the world's attention and money was no longer directed to dedicated handheld video game machines.

If the Vita had come out at least five years ahead of the iPhone in 2007 it would have had enough time to gain traction and establish a healthy following in the gaming world.

Trenton felt that the Vita was the right device at the wrong time, saying: "The world has shifted to portable devices that aren't dedicated gaming machines. The Vita was a nice machine at a time when very few people felt they needed a dedicated portable device."

In February of 2012, the PS Vita was launched in Europe and North America, and was swiftly considered a financial disappointment for Sony.

Six months after the release of the Vita, Tretton said: "In this industry, you can't get too high or too low, because it moves very quickly. I think there's an acceptable number - and [the number] we've sold: That's acceptable. If it was triple that, I'd be happier. If it was one-third, I'd be disappointed."

Trenton concluded that he and the company had mistakenly assumed that if they had a great technology and a rich portfolio of AAA games, customers would follow. He believes that this assumption marked the beginning of the Vita's decline.

  

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