The best handheld gaming device isn't likely to get a follow-up anytime soon. At an EGX 2015 developer session, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida hinted that a new PlayStation Vita isn't likely.
"People have mobile phones," said Yoshida in the interview posted above, "and it's so easy to play games on smartphones. And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start." Yoshida mentions the work that went into the system, and the value its traditional controllers play compared to the touch controls of popular smartphone games. But his final prognosis is bleak. "I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues," says Yoshida, "but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming."
Sony is right to be concerned about making another shot at the mobile game market, one it's never quite cornered, but not necessarily because of the climate. As Kotaku's Jason Schreier emphasizes, Nintendo has sold over 50 million units of the Nintendo 3DS handheld and its larger and newer variations. Schreier bullet points Sony's many failures with the system, perhaps most egregiously its proprietary memory cards.
The PlayStation Vita (like the Sony Betamax and the Sony Minidisc) was the higher quality hardware for the hardcore enthusiast, but struggled because like its predecessors, the company failed to secure the most important thing for an entertainment device: the content.
Never have there been more games in more genres playable on more hardware by more people than there are today. The climate is complex for game developers who have countless competition, but for publishers and hardware makers, this is an age of plenty. If we don't see a PlayStation Vita 2, it will be because of Sony, not because of the forecast.