Ex-SCEA boss confesses: “PS Vita was practically DOA”

Nowadays, people are very much in the market for a dedicated handheld gaming device. Nintendo is making millions off of its Switch and Steam is happily joining that market with the Steam Deck. But according to Jack Tretton – Former Sony Computer Entertainment America boss – that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why the PS Vita didn’t work out. That, and a lack of love for the device from the company that made it.

In a way, the PS Vita was dead on arrival. According to a paywalled interview with Axios, Tretton went on to explain how the handheld was – in a way – destined to fail. In order to make the platform work, support was needed. And that was exactly what it didn’t get enough of.

“There were certainly technologies that I thought were good but just didn’t have the level of support they needed.”

“So, you come up with new technology to introduce to the industry and the consumers. But do you have the marketing budget to really drive the message? Do you have the developer support dollars to incent them to develop games to support this initiative? And sometimes you would birth technology and hope that it caught on.”

As it turns out, it was also a matter of poor timing. Looking back at the launch of the Vita, Tretton realized way back in 2017 that the device got launched too late. People weren’t looking for dedicated handheld gaming devices anymore. At least, that’s what he told IGN back in the day.

“Now that I don’t work there anymore, I think internally it was: ‘This is a great machine, it’s just too late.’ The world has shifted to portable devices that aren’t dedicated gaming machines.

And I think PSP was incredibly successful. I loved what it did, and I thought it brought a console-like experience and brought genres to an older gamer that typically didn’t have console-like games to play on a portable platform.

But Vita was a nice machine at a time when very few people felt they needed a dedicated portable device.”

Maybe they should have tapped into the market back in 1969 when a Vita would’ve totally rocked the world. I mean, if we’re to believe certain expiration dates, Sony was already busy retiring games in the late ’60s.

Well whaddayaknow…