In Japan, today marks the 10th anniversary of the PS Vita launch! Following the PSP generation, Sony was confident enough to follow up with a successor. The PlayStation Vita (shortened to PS Vita) would improve upon the PSP’s form factor with two analog sticks, OLED display with touch-screen capabilities, touch pad and 3G capabilities to name a few. The Japanese launch featured over 20 games such as Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Ridge Racer, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Plus and more. Players in the west would see the new handheld launch in February 22nd 2012. The handheld also marked Sony’s departure from the XrossMediaBar interface which became synonymous with the PSP and PS3. Instead, it featured a touch-screen friendly UI similar to smartphones.

Although PS Vita received big titles from Sony within its first few years, it became clear that Sony focused more on PS4 as it gained steam. Games that started out on the platform such as Gravity Rush would make their way to PS4 and even gain a sequel while missing the portable console entirely. Japan would embrace the handheld with many RPGs, visual novels and niche titles but in the rest of the world, it was clear that PS4 was the way forward. As time passed, PS Vita consoles would become scarce and it was clear that Sony gave up on the platform as they ceased development of 1st party titles for the system. All focus shifted to PS4 and by 2019, PS Vita was discontinued worldwide.

Later in 2020 and 2021, rumors stated that Sony would shut down the PS Vita storefront soon. This would have been a devastating blow since the PSN Store included PSP and PS Vita titles. Those rumors were actually true as Sony confirmed their plans to shut down the PSP, PS3 and PS Vita stores entirely. However, fan backlash made Sony backtrack as it became clear that although those console generations were over, enough players were there to make an impact and show how important those console libraries are. PS Vita’s potential was never realized in terms of Sony 1st party games and western 3rd parties. Indie developers and Japanese 3rd parties delivered great games but the damage was already done just a few short years into it.

The PS Vita is fondly remembered by early adopters, Japanese gaming enthusiasts, indies and homebrew developers alike. Unfortunately, this proved to be Sony’s final attempt in the handheld console market. Sony’s entire focus is on PS4 and later, the PS5 in 2020. The Switch would finally come to fully realize the PS Vita’s potential with big 1st party games, western and Japanese 3rd party games. Many PS Vita games would make the jump to Nintendo’s hybrid platform and Steam in the years that followed. The PS Vita’s legacy still lives on and it’s still an important part of Sony’s history.

Stay tuned at Final Weapon for the latest Japanese gaming news and updates!

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