Approaching three years of existence the PlayStation Vita finds itself in an undeniably precarious position, further complicated by the arrival of the PlayStation 4. Sony recently admitted to misjudging the mobile market, and while the handheld did manage to find a bump from the next-gen console’s arrival, the sustainability of that increase could be questioned. However even with little marketing, the Vita has managed to cultivate a cult audience in both owners and indie developers alike, the latter of which have flocked to the platform as a haven for their unique titles.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter doesn’t see much hope in the PlayStation Vita, and believes that the handheld’s fate may already be sealed. The sales are horrible. Pachter bluntly told Game Informer. “Vita is a little bit too elegant and a little too expensive.”For the analyst it all comes down to the handheld playing host to unique and high-end experiences, something he says third-party developers and publishers are not interested in pursuing. “But then it has relatively few games because they are complicated to make and the market is so small. he explained. Sony will spend the money with their internal studios, but you’re just going to see [Vita] die a slow, painful death.
Pachter then goes on to echo previous comments by PlayStation UK Marketing Director Fergal Gara, who confessed that the mobile market has shifted to multi-purpose devices. Where the two differ however is that Pachter also questions the viability of the Vita’s Remote-play capabilities, admitting that while the feature is “cool” it won’t necessarily translate into a financial success. “I think that most people who have competing concerns about the use of the console versus watching TV have their console on a different TV.”
That’s his opinion on the PlayStation Vita as it stands today, however it is important to understand Michael Pachter is an analyst and as such he programmed to think long-term. Unfortunately, his thoughts on Sony’s future in the handheld market don’t exactly paint a brighter picture. “There is no future and they couldn’t do any better [than Vita].”
The reason he predicts such eventual doom for Sony handhelds is due to there being another big fish in the little pond of the modern handheld market. “I just think [Sony] misjudged the size of the market and launched it into this s—storm of mobile destroying the casual end of dedicated handhelds.” he disclosed. “And Nintendo’s not giving up much share on the hardcore side, because they have three games to every one Sony game, and they are good games.”
Regardless of how you feel regarding the PlayStation Vita, Pachter makes some valid points. The PlayStation Vita, on all counts, has not lived up to its potential and has in fact found itself in an identity crisis of sorts recently. However we aren’t so quick as to dispel the prospect of a turnaround just yet. Sony are taking great strides in making the handheld more accessible to developers, whether through direct partnerships or ones that are perhaps a bit more far reaching – such as their recent collaboration with Unity. Truth be told, we don’t exactly know what the future holds for Vita; but what we don’t see is “painful death” anywhere on the horizon.