You may be jonesing for a follow-up to the PlayStation Vita, but Sony isn’t so sure that it’s a wise idea. The company’s Shuhei Yoshida told those at a recent developer session that the “climate is not healthy” for a Vita sequel. Simply put, he believes that smartphones have dampened enthusiasm for gaming handhelds. Why get a dedicated device and buy games when you can play free games on the device you already have? He hopes that the culture of portable gaming will live on, but he doesn’t currently see Sony fostering that culture with new hardware.
Yoshida is right in that mobile gaming has had an impact — even Nintendo has given in to pressure to develop phone games after saying that it wouldn’t. As Kotaku points out, though, Sony’s reluctance to make another Vita may stem more from its own troubles than the market. Sony hasn’t really given the Vita the blockbuster first-party games that sell systems (many of them are minor offshoots of existing franchises), and hasn’t lavished nearly as much marketing attention on the Vita as it has the PS3 and PS4. Why would you buy a handheld that perpetually lives in the shadow of its TV-based siblings? While there’s no guarantee that a Vita replacement would fare any better (even if it hits all the right marks), Sony would have a stronger argument if it had devoted more energy to the portable it’s already selling.