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.