NOTE: This console isn't bad. This article will focus primarily on what caused it to flop.
The PlayStation Vita is a handheld video game console that is currently competing against the Nintendo 3DS and is the successor to the PlayStation Portable. It was released in December 2011 in Japan, early 2012 worldwide, and in Canada in late 2012. It and was discontinued on March 8, 2019.
A "home console" version called PlayStation TV also exists.
Why It Flopped
- Having gotten cocky on the success of the PSP, Sony did a terrible job in marketing the system.
- The Vita was released during the time when people thought mobile was replacing handheld gaming. While mobiles failed to do so, Sony gave up on the Vita (see below).
- Unlike the PSP and Nintendo 3DS, the Vita uses proprietary memory cards, which are ridiculously expensive. For reference, 4GB PlayStation Vita memory cards cost $29, which is around the price of a 64GB SD Card, and the 32GB memory cards cost $99.
- Even leaving aside the issues with the pricing, memory cards shouldn't really be necessary to begin with, given that they went from using UMDs on the PSP to flash cards on this system. Instead, you can't even save your games unless you buy a memory card (though later Vita models at least included enough internal memory for save games).
- 64GB memory cards are infamous for corrupting data, and even failing entirely.
- No way to uninstall games without losing the local save.
- The charging cable, proprietary (for first model), is of poor quality and quite hard to find in stores. Thankfully, this was replaced with a Micro USB charger in the Slim model.
- Sony gave the console very little support and quickly forgot about it. Because of this, third-party developers also abandoned the console rather quickly.
- While it did have many great games, many of its exclusives were either ported or remastered to other consoles (mainly the PS4, PC, and Switch respectively) due to the low sales of Vita.
- The console's most promoted feature, Remote Play, was unusable for two years, as you needed a superb internet connection and some luck to get the latency and video quality required for full enjoyment, and while it was usable with the PS3, very few games supported it on the PS3, A problem that existed with the PSP as well.
- Poor battery life compared to the 3DS, at around only three or four hours on a full charge on the 1000 model.
- Many of the console's games have ridiculously long loading times for flash memory, likely based on the poor optimization of the hardware (whether it be the RAM, CPU, or storage speeds).
- While theoretically capable of supporting PS3-quality games in the same way that the PSP was capable of supporting PS2-quality games, many PS3 ports-like Borderlands, Minecraft and the Jak and Daxter trilogy-turned out to be worse than their home console counterparts.
- Absence of games from iconic franchises that were on the PSP and other PlayStation systems or other systems for that matter, such as Gran Turismo, God Of War, NBA 2K, WWE, mainline Monster Hunter, Mega Man, Tekken, and Grand Theft Auto, just to name a few. Without these franchises, many people who were otherwise loyal to the Playstation brand were less willing to transition to the Vita.
- Almost none of the games could figure out a decent use for the rear touchpad.
Despite the poor sales, the PS Vita is considered one of the best portable gaming consoles ever made. To see its good qualities, click here.
Despite all the positive qualities the Vita has, it was a commercial flop selling only about four million units worldwide by the beginning of 2013, although fans (one of which was YouTuber AlphaOmegaSin) have called it severely underrated. It was later announced that the Vita was now a legacy console, meaning that while the Vita was still in production, Sony was mostly done with it.
WatchMojo ranked the Vita the 8th best Handheld Gaming Device in their Top 10 Handheld Gaming Devices video, but behind the 3DS at number 5, alongside ranking the Vita 2nd worst PlayStation fail, just behind the 2011 PSN outage.
Sony has stated that it is very unlikely that they'll ever make a Vita successor.
On May 16, 2018, Sony announced they would cease production of physical games for the Vita in March 2019, meaning all Vita games that get released after that date will be digital only, though there was speculation on whether or not physical games would continue normally for Japan due to its success there. This was confirmed on September 20, 2018 at the Tokyo Game Show, when Sony announced that in March 2019, worldwide distribution and manufacture of both the system itself and physical copies of Vita games would both be discontinued, with digital games still being made for the Vita for the foreseeable future.