The handheld system launched in 2011 as the successor to the PSP and is thought to have sold less than 15 million units prior to its discontinuation in 2019.
“There were certainly technologies that I thought were good but just didn’t have the level of support they needed,” he said, also citing 3D gaming and PlayStation VR, which didn’t launch until after he left the company in 2014.
Being a successful part of a big corporation sometimes meant having to make sacrifices when other parts of the business weren’t performing so well, Tretton said.
“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.”
Speaking to IGN about Vita’s fate in 2017, Tretton said Sony thought the product was too late to come to market.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
However, following a backlash from players, the company made a partial U-turn the following month, saying it would no longer close the PS3 or Vita stores but was still planning to shut the PSP store, which it did last July.