As dedicated handheld gaming consoles continue to struggle against the ubiquity of smartphones all over the world, Japan-based gaming and multimedia giant Sony has finally put to bed its iconic handheld gaming device, the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The game-makers are putting their efforts behind the new Vita handheld, and will stop shipping PSP’s by later this year.
Before the rise of smartphones and casual gaming, the PSP was the handheld gaming platform of choice – Sony has shipped over 76 million units of the handheld console in over 10 years of its existence. But the PSP has been challenged in Japan by Nintendo’s 3DS and more recently by a more encompassing growth into the handheld gaming market by smartphones. The losses are big enough that Sony has finally decided to put the platform to bed, choosing instead to put their efforts behind the PSP’s successor, the PlayStation Vita. Sony declared losses of around USD$1.3 billion last year, and is still expected to take losses this year, hence the move to kill off the non-performing business.
But industry insiders are even doubtful of the Vita’s potential to survive in a smartphone-heavy market. The Vita has, from analysis, not really set the gaming world alight with its sales, and Sony is not forthcoming with sales details. To push the gap a little bit, Sony is planning to offer discounts for Vita purchases in Japan for PSP owners. It was not revealed whether the same discounts will be made available for other markets. PSP shipments to the United States have ended in January this year, while shipments to Japan will end this month.