Former President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) Jack Tretton recently sat down for a chat with IGN in which he reflected on the trials and tribulations of the PlayStation Vita.
When asked how he feels about the Vita in hindsight, Tretton said that the vibe internally was that it was a great machine but it just arrived too late. He added that the world had already started to shift to portable devices that weren’t dedicated gaming machines.
Indeed, by the time the Vita launched in the US in February 2012, smartphones were already quite popular and tablet adoption was on the uptick. As a result, the Vita never was able to match the success of its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), a handheld console that found its way to North America in 2005.
Tretton, who left Sony in mid-2014, said the PSP was incredibly successful as it delivered a console-like experience and was able to pull in older gamers. Sony ultimately sold more than 80 million units during the PSP’s decade-long lifetime. In comparison, Sony has only sold an estimated 13 million Vita handhelds to date.
Tretton did, however, praise the Vita’s hardware, noting that its OLED multi-touch display, powerful processor and dual thumbsticks far surpassed its competition.
Given the Vita’s timing alongside the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming, one can’t help but wonder if Nintendo is setting itself up for a similar level of disappointment with its upcoming NX system which is rumored to be a hybrid home / mobile platform.