The PlayStation Portable, or the PSP, is slated for discontinuation worldwide starting next month. The PSP was Sony’s first dedicated handheld, and the first real challenge to Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld market since Sega’s Game Gear more than a decade before. The PSP was state of the art for its time, with its gorgeous screen, its incredible power, its focus on being an all in one media device long before smartphones and tablets were a thing, and its bid to introduce optical media to handheld games.
The PSP struggled, especially next to Nintendo’s DS, which went on to sell a stratospheric 152 million units worldwide, and became, by many accounts, the highest selling system of all time. The PSP saw a mass exodus of third parties (all of whom migrated to the DS), and widespread piracy, which further led to third parties dropping the system. Meanwhile, Sony itself stopped giving it due attention after 2007. Over time, the PSP made a comeback, thanks to Monster Hunter, and other high end Japanese support, and it ended with a highly respectable 80 million units sold worldwide- the most successful non Nintendo branded handheld of all time, one of the most successful systems last generation (it is tied with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3), and one of the most successful handhelds period.
The PSP’s discontinuation comes one year after the DS’s discontinuation last year; the PSP is succeeded by Sony’s PlayStation Vita, a handheld that does many of the same things right and wrong that the PSP did, but one that has performed abysmally in the market. Whether the PSP’s discontinuation leads to Sony (and their Japanese third party partners) pushing the PS Vita more now, remains to be seen.