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Why is the Nintendo Switch successful but the Sony Vita failed? In many ways the Vita was really good on graphics, quality of hardware and battery life.

Nintendo is king when it comes to portables

Sony is king when it comes to home consoles

Looking at the track record, Nintendo’s Game Boy wiped Sega’s Game Gear off the map. The Game Boy Advance did the same to the Bandai Wonderswan. The Nintendo DS did the same to the PSP, and the 3DS did the same to the Vita.

On the other hand, Sony’s Playstation consoles (PS1, PS2, PS4) were the best selling consoles of their generation while the PS3 tied with the Xbox 360 for second place. Sony has a pretty good track record at home.

So Nintendo already has a good grasp on what makes handheld portables succeed. But on top of that, Sony basically shot themselves in the foot with the Vita as well because they made several mistakes:

  1. Sony is terrible at marketing. It seems that for everything outside of the PS4, it sucks at it. Sony’s headphones? Way better than Bose and Beats. Sony’s AIBO robot? really cool. Sony’s Xperia phones? Really nice devices. Sony’s alpha cameras? blows away Nikon and Canon. Sony’s OLED TVs? much better than LGs. Sony’s Walkman DAPs? Competes with audiophile companies. Their Blu-Ray players? Class leading. But Sony sucks at marketing all their devices. They need to take some tips from Samsung. They have great stylish devices but high premiums and don’t market well. Consumers look at them, scoff at their prices, and move on.
  2. The PS Vita memory cards were proprietary. Big problem. A 64GB Vita card costs $100. Do you know how much a 64GB microSD card costs? $10. a TENTH of the price.
  3. Sony stopped supporting the Vita game library sometime after 2012. The Vita was mostly propped up by Japanese RPG makers + indie developers. Once the Switch came on the market, they all moved to the Switch. The Vita was basically on life support already because the first party (Sony) abandoned them 2 years after release. After the Switch, the Vita’s days were numbered. Nintendo on the other hand? STILL releasing first party games for the 3DS (2 years after Switch was released)