Sony Sours On Handheld Gaming Consoles, Will Focus On Home Gaming And Smartphones

Sony has taken various stabs at handheld gaming over the years. Remember the PlayStation Portable? How about the followup PlayStation Vita? Now would be a good time to introduce yet another handheld console, if that was the direction Sony wanted to go. But with smartphones now both powerful and ubiquitous, Sony sees little reason to go down that path, even with the Nintendo Switch proving incredibly popular.

Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), touched on the topic of mobile gaming and the Nintendo Switch in an interview with Bloomberg at last week's Tokyo Game Show.

PS Vita
Image Source: Flickr (MiNe-5DII_105-3350U)

"The Nintendo device is a hybrid device and that's a different approach and strategy," House said. "We have not seen that as being a huge market opportunity."

House was specifically referring to handheld gaming outside of the Japan and Asia. It is an interesting viewpoint, considering that Nintendo cannot stock retail store shelves fast enough with its Switch console, in the United States and other territories. The Switch is even beating the pulp out of stationary living room consoles—Switch sales outpaced the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in August for the second month in a row, and has been on top in four of the past six months, according to The NPD Group.

Even so, Sony is not interested in following suit. Sony is not necessarily wrong, either. The Switch is a unique dual-purpose console that is just as comfortable in the living room as it on the road. Nintendo does not have a modern generation living console that might be cannibalized the Switch.

Sony, on the other hand, is very much invested in its PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. If Sony decided to build a mobile console, it would most likely be another dedicated handheld, and it has no interest in going down that road again.

"The Vita experience was that outside of Japan and Asia, there was not a huge demand," House added. "The lifestyle switch toward the dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you, was the determining factor."

The bottom line here is do not hold your breath for a new generation PSP. It is not on the roadmap, and barring a sudden shift in strategy, it will remain absent from Sony's future plans.