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Sony to Step Away From the Handheld Market, Discontinuing the PS Vita 2019

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Sony will cease production of the PS Vita and step away from the handheld market altogether, according to its senior vice president Oda Hiroyuki .

Oda, in a statement to Famitsu (translated by Nintendolife), confirmed that the company would not be producing any handheld hardware in the future. Oda stated that “[in] Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019. From there, shipping will end. Currently, we do not have any plans regarding a new handheld device.”

A representative from Sony re-confirmed this news to Business Insider, although Sony has yet to officially announce a retreat from handheld gaming. The Vita has had a weak showing, particularly in the West, but has been a hub for left-field, visual novel games in the Asian market. These sales will never be enough to keep this segment of Sony’s business afloat, however, especially with the 3DS and Switch dominating portability.

Whether Sony will return to handheld hardware after some thinking time remains to be seen. Its first effort, the PSP, launched in 2004, with the company lasting only 15 years in the market. This news has further solidified Nintendo’s niche in modern gaming, cornering the handheld market completely. Competition from an ever-expanding mobile market, too, likely proved to be too competitive for Sony.

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LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Technology Will Deliver a ‘Brand New Way to Explore the Entire Saga’

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LEGO Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will benefit from modern technological capabilities leading to a whole new project rather than just remastering older episodes.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, James McCloughlin game director at TT Games discussed the studio’s technological progress regarding game design compared to 15 years ago. McCloughlin confirmed that instead of remastering episodes one to six, the studio is developing a whole new experience to align with current player standards.

“We wanted to create a new Star Wars game which was designed without the technical restrictions of the older games—mainly episodes one to six—and since then we have learned so much as a studio.” He continued, “The older Star Wars games were great for that generation of gamers, but now players expect and need a lot more freedom in their play. With this game we hope to give players a brand new way to explore and enjoy the entire saga.”

One of the main features expected to dramatically change will be the size and scope of episodes one to six. McLoughlin highlights that player freedom is one of the biggest expectations of gamers and cited his experience working on Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War, and the Batman Arkham series.

“Freedom is a massive part of modern games—since the days of the cantina [in the early Lego Star Wars games], we have designed and developed over-world spaces from Middle Earth to Gotham City all with different challenges and hurdles to overcome. This game should be an amalgamation of all of what we have learned so far as a studio.”

Furthermore McLoughlin explained that TT Games monitors consumer reception to its games, so after The Skywalker Saga is released the studio will consistently evaluate players’ reactions (both good and bad): “We now have a greater toolset to evaluate play through analytics and user testing that just wasn’t as readily available 15 years ago,” he explained. “We can now very easily target sectors of play and enhance the areas we know get the most traffic, to help make the entire experience great from start to finish.”

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is set to release in 2020 for PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. OnlySP’s Mike Cripe got to see the game in action at E3, finding that it may yet be as good as the highly anticipated Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

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