Does Sony Need Another Handheld?
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The Vita's absolute final death knell is upon us. Japan is ending production of the handheld in 2019. It's time has already come and gone in North America and Europe. That seems like it should be it. But, instead of ending things, perhaps it is time for Sony to consider the grand experiment once again. The company should really work on another portable system. The world is in a good place to support it, and there are many reasons why it could be smart.

The Sony handhelds are always good about championing single-player experiences. Some of the best RPGs of our time appeared on the PSP and Vita. Since a lot of the first-party console games from the company are action-adventure experiences, focus on an open world, or even occasionally bring in online multiplayer, a new handheld could be an opportunity to return to form. Bring back those sorts of games, like Legend of Dragoon, Rogue Galaxy, Wild Arms, Arc the Lad, Dark Cloud, and Soul Sacrifice. It could be an opportunity. 

Having a handheld experience would help Sony compete with the Nintendo Switch. The system has enjoyed a lot of success, and part of that is due to its hybrid nature. People dig the freedom it affords, since they can play at a TV or on the go. Being able to launch the PlayStation 5 alongside some sort of handheld that complements it could be a great idea. It could mean reaching a larger audience and tapping into people anywhere they go. Given how connected our world is now, it could be a much more successful device for online multiplayer experiences than the PSP and Vita.

Especially since a hypothetical new handheld could take advantage of Remote Play in the way the Vita didn't. Some people probably didn't even realize they could play PlayStation 4 games on the go with it. (Try Shadow of the Colossus, Valkyria Chronicles 4, or Marvel's Spider-Man with Remote Play sometime.) If a new handheld appeared and launched alongside a PlayStation 5, there could be such possibilities. A bundle could include the PS5 and this hypothetical portable. There would be better education showing how the feature works and why people should use it. 

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It could also be another front to promote PlayStation Now. Originally, you could use  the service on the Vita and PlayStation TV. That ended in August 2017. As of February 2019, over 700 games are available through the service. Imagine being able to tell someone now, "Here is Sony's latest handheld. It is a full Remote Play and PlayStation Now device. When you buy it for, I don't know, let's say $150, you get six months of PlayStation Now." People who loved the past handhelds and Sony in general would bite.

Basically, it seems like a shame for the legacy of Sony handhelds to end. Sure, PlayStation Mobile didn't last. Yes, eventually the PSP and Vita petered out. But Sony has always been good about making systems people want. The love for the Vita and demand for the Switch shows people would appreciate a portable option. Sony should consider giving the PS5 a companion.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Writing Team
Date: 03/01/2019

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