Sony Ending Production of Physical Vita Games, Digital Production Will Continue For Now
I know many of you may have been in my position in expecting this story to happen at some point. Sony has been pretty obvious about their dwindling support for the PlayStation Vita, their most recent handheld venture that's been chugging along since 2012. Six years have passed since, and with that lowered support came fans of the handheld expecting news of dropped production someday. Naturally, we wanted that day to be later rather than sooner, but according to a report from Kotaku, Sony has revealed that physical production of Vita games will be shut down. They later reached out to Kotaku, and other news sites, confirming this.
So why did this all come about anyway? What made the Vita so under-supported and so short-lived? In essence, it was a platform that had too much stuff going on, featuring bizarre design decisions, gimmicky additions like the camera and gyro, etc. What really made it a tough sell was the system running exclusively off of memory cards, jacking up the price and turning supporters away from many directions. Regions such as America and Europe had next to no support for the handheld a few years in, and Sony has infamously avoided talking about it at E3 in most recent years. The handheld market, in general, featured many shifts over the past six years, with mobile gaming becoming popular, the 3DS doing really well, and the Switch truly bringing console gaming on the go last year. With Sony announcing the end of PlayStation Plus Vita games this past February, this all felt like an inevitability.
Despite all of this, the PlayStation Vita has grown notorious for being a wellspring of Japanese games, from the popular to the super niche. Japan took quite fondly to the handheld, and many developers over there have consistently been making and releasing games onto it for its entire lifespan. The Vita is home to popular Japanese hits like Persona 4 Golden, the Danganronpa series, the Trails of Cold Steel series, the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, and a whole lot more. Many fans of Japanese games, therefore, have become quite passionate about the system as a go-to for titles they can't play anywhere else.
Sony stated that Vita GameCard production will end by the close of the 2018 fiscal year, which lands it on March 31st, 2019. All Vita product code requests will have to be submitted by June 28th, and final purchase orders will have to be by February 15th next year. There is some hope for Vita fans though; Sony didn't mention anything about ending digital production or hardware production. While the days for those are probably numbered too, sadly, we can at least look forward to more Vita games digitally in the near future. While this all spells out the gradual end of the PlayStation Vita as a whole, it's been a hit with many groups in the game industry and will always be remembered fondly for it. If you have yet to actually get a Vita, now might be the time to grab one, before it's too late.