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New PlayStation Chief Still Sees Future in Portable Gaming

Sony sees a future in portable gaming, Bloomberg reports, with PlayStation chief John Kodera hinting that the next console may be closely integrated with portable devices, adding that it’s “not yet the right stage to discuss specific hardware plans.”

“In my opinion, rather than separating portable gaming from consoles, it’s necessary to continue thinking of it (portable gaming) as one method to deliver more gaming experiences and exploring what our customers want from portable,” he said during a roundtable interview in Tokyo. “We want to think about many options.”

The PlayStation Vita was Sony’s last attempt at a handheld gaming device. It launched in Japan in December 2011, then in North America and Europe in February 2012. Although sales were reportedly strong at launch, it ultimately underperformed thanks to heavy competition from the Nintendo 3DS. Earlier this month, Kotaku reported Sony plans to end physical production of Vita games by the close of fiscal year 2018.

Although the Vita has floundered, the portable gaming market received a shot in the arm this past year thanks to the Nintendo Switch, a hybrid console that can be played while held or docked. Over 17 million units were sold in the last fiscal year, and Nintendo believes it can sell 20 million more next year. Former PlayStation head Andrew House told Bloomberg in 2017 he sees limited global potential for handheld gaming in the age of smartphones, and Sony would take “a different approach and strategy” than Nintendo’s. But, Kodera reportedly avoided commenting specifically on the Switch during Wednesday’s interview and instead pointed to Sony projects like PlayLink, which allows people to interact with PS4 games via their smartphones.

Kodera’s comments come one day after he reportedly said during a corporate strategy meeting that the PlayStation 4 is entering the “final phase” of its life cycle. Kodera reportedly refused to talk about a timeline or specifics for a new console on Wednesday, but he did say a new device is being designed that will be easier to manufacture and create games on.

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