Sony originally launched the console in hopes of blending big-budget gaming with the growing trend of mobile video games. Analyst estimates suggest around 6million Vitas had been sold by the end of — after two years on sale. By comparison, the Nintendo Switch handheld console has only been out for 18 months, but nearly 20million units have been sold.
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Firstly, mobile gaming was booming at the time — so there's wasn't a clear need to buy an extra handheld gaming device when a smartphone would work just fine. Secondly, Sony faced stiff competition from the Nintendo 3DS, a very popular handheld console with loads of well-reviewed games. Finally, there was a severe shortage of games available to play on the Vita. And once game makers realised Sony was struggling to sell the console, their willingness to make games plummeted — hurting PS Vita sales even more.
We're expecting Sony to reveal the PlayStation 5 before Christmas next year. The PS Vita struggled against rival devices as well as a surge in the popularity of mobile gaming. With no plans for a successor, games critics say a Sony version of the successful Nintendo Switch is unlikely. When the PS Vita launched, in Japan in , it initially sold well.
Independent research company Strategy Analytics reported sales of , units in the Vita's first week. But these figures dropped sharply. Sony is estimated to have sold only million units in the Vita's entire lifetime. In comparison, Nintendo's Switch console has sold more than 32 million units , only two years after it first went on sale.
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The years since the Vita's launch also saw an explosion in mobile gaming, with smartphones and tablets becoming powerful enough to run graphically intensive apps. In , Sony said it would cease physical production of Vita games and that would be the final year the device was manufactured.
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