Sony is putting an end to the production of physical PS Vita game cartridges as reported by Kotaku. The end of the physical Vita games does not mean that no new games will ever come to Sony’s handheld as digital distribution of titles will continue.
In an email sent to game developers, Sony North America and Europe gave notice that they “plan to end all Vita GameCard production by close of the fiscal year 2018,” which would mean that players should expect that no new physical games will be released for the Vita by March 2019.
During its initial release back in 2012, Sony marketed the PS Vita as a console gaming experience on the go. However, the PS Vita quickly lost its presence in the market with mobile and tablet gaming and the dominance of the Nintendo 3DS in the handheld industry. Lastly, Sony’s decision to only support proprietary memory cards instead of allowing third-party alternatives made the system extremely unpopular and pricier than it should be.
Of course, the release of the Nintendo Switch that allowed players to play in both hand-held and console mode furthered Vita’s decline in the market. Given the Switch’s vast library of first-party and third-party games, the Vita became the console for niche games such as JRPG’s and a few indie games. Although Vita games won’t be discontinued altogether, as players can still get them via the PSN, I can’t help but wonder if this move by Sony is now one step closer to the end of the PS Vita’s lifecycle.