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Gaming roundup: Sony ends handheld ventures, Twitch blocked in China

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Sep 21, 2018, 4:54 PM EDT (Updated)

The gaming world faced a few setbacks today, even as Spider-Man swung to unprecedented heights on the other end of the spectrum. Sony, the company that put out the killer PS4 game, ran into problems in its other sectors, and the PC streaming world lost a potential market as Twitch fell out of favor.

First off, let’s talk about Sony’s restricted plan when it comes to consoles. The company has produced plenty of handheld gaming devices over its history, like the PSP and, most recently, the PS Vita. Now, however, according to an interview with Gematsu, it sounds like they’re done with the sector.

“Currently, we do not have any plans regarding a new handheld device,” Sony Interactive Entertainment Senior VP Hiroyuki Oda said. “In Japan, we will manufacture PlayStation Vita until 2019. From there, shipping will end.” The handheld market, dominated by phones, tablets, and the various Nintendo 3DS iterations, seems to be a place Sony is moving away from -- at least after 2019.

Another company waving the white flag is Twitch. The video game streaming platform is blocked in mainland China after a huge increase in traffic from the area’s esports enthusiasts, who aimed to watch the Asian Games. This year’s event included traditional sports as well as video games, which were listed as a “demonstration sport” -- an event during which earned medals didn’t count toward a country’s total -- along with with canoe polo.

According to Abacus News, Twitch no longer works in China after the games and has vanished from the Apple App Store. It was the third most popular free app in the country, now nowhere to be found. The service’s popularity elsewhere in the world has been hugely notable, allowing many gamers to turn pro by monetizing their Twitch accounts. With a gigantic market remaining untapped -- or untapping itself, as the case may be -- Twitch and its investors may be wary of the industry’s future in China.