It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011, with releases in North America, Europe, and other worldwide regions starting on February 22, 2012.
It primarily competes with the Nintendo 3DS as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles.
which was later clarified to not be taken at a literal level because, according to David Coombes, platform research manager at Sony Computer Entertainment America, "Well, it's not going to run at 2 GHz [like the PS3] because the battery would last five minutes and it would probably set fire to your pants".
As rumors had suggested, the device was designed to present "the best of both worlds" between mobile and handheld gaming, including a 5-inch OLED touchscreen, a rear touchpad coupled with physical buttons and dual analog sticks.
A concentrated effort to attract smaller, indie developers in the West, combined with strong support from mid-level Japanese companies, helped keep the platform afloat.
While this led to less diversity in its game library, it did garner strong support in Japanese-developed role-playing video games and visual novels alongside a wealth of Western-developed indie games, leading it to become a moderate seller in Japan, and build a smaller, yet passionate userbase in the West.
Unlike typical weekly TV shows, each episode of a live variety show is planned in a “just in time” fashion.
And it must be good enough every week to keep viewer ratings very high or risk cancellation.
Despite this, the system still only managed to sell 4 million units worldwide in its first 10 months on the market, Still, the system under-performed; while Sony projected selling 16 million units of combined Vita and PSP systems, it had to slash its forecast twice in the same year—down to 12 and then 10 million units sold.
With higher profile games not pushing the system sales enough in 2012, big third party companies like Ubisoft and Activision started reducing or eliminating support for the system, especially in the West.
The system's design was created to meld the experience of big budget, dedicated video game platforms with the then up-and-coming trend of mobile gaming through smart phones and tablets.
However, in the year after the device's successful launch, sales of the hardware and its bigger budget games stalled, threatening to end its lifespan.