Does Sony need a new handheld to counter the Nintendo Switch? This question is weird because as a PlayStation gamer, I haven’t seen a Nintendo console as a competitor for the longest time. Even during last generation, when the Nintendo Wii Outsold the PlayStation 3 by almost 15 million units, the Nintendo console was never considered by the fan base as a direct competitor. Most people picked the Wii as their second console or picked either an Xbox or PlayStation after buying a Wii. The war almost always felt like an Xbox v PlayStation thing.
This is not to say that Sony did not strive to beat Nintendo. The creation of the Six axis as well as PS Move controllers were a reaction to the Wii’s success. The introduction of the PlayStation Portable back in the early 2000s was a move to directly challenge the monopoly Nintendo had on the handheld gaming market. Sony, to me, always looked up to Nintendo and how they often make grate strides in changing how we game.
Now the question asked is a little bit flawed as the Switch itself is not a handheld per se. It is a home console like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but has the unique feature to be played on the go. If Sony were to create a new hand held, then it will have to compete against the 3DS. Sadly, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Sony announced earlier this year that they don’t have plans on creating a successor to the Vita. As someone who still games on the PlayStation Vita, it felt like a stab in the back. I, and many others, are in love with the system but since Sony’s focus to the PS4, we are left with almost no first party support in terms of content. So no, Sony wont be re-entering the handheld market anytime soon.
While creating a handheld is out of the question, Sony might still consider putting a home console that would counter the Switch. In February this year we learned that Sony had filed a patent for a controller that very much feels like the Nintendo Switch. The design even has the same detachable controllers similar to the Switch’s Joycons.
A few months after that, we got some concept design for a switch-esque PlayStation console.
If you think about PS4 and how the Vita can do Remote Play, Portable Console gaming has always been part of Sony’s style. Playing on the go was part of the PS4’s early marketing campaigns. Even the PSP was marketed as having console quality games on the go. Now with Nintendo introducing the concept to everyone with the Switch, Sony might be a little mote comfortable doing one themselves.