The PS Vita is now much closer to its death. The PS Vita might still attract new fans thanks to indie releases and JRPGs like Persona 4 Golden, but they're clearly not enough to prevent its impending death. According to Kotaku, Sony's American and European divisions are ending the production of physical Vita games by March 31st, 2019, which is the end of fiscal year 2018. The company has revealed the news in a letter to developers, asking them to submit their final purchase orders by February 15th, 2019. Sony will continue selling digital Vita games on the PlayStation Network, but the console's pricey proprietary memory cards -- one of the reasons why Vita never became as popular in the West as it is in Japan -- could ultimately cause even loyal gamers to drop the system. Other factors that contributed to the Vita's imminent demise include the rise of mobile gaming and the fact that Sony's American and European divisions largely ignored the console's existence shortly after its launch in 2012. Sony's handheld also couldn't compete with the 3DS, which enjoyed Nintendo's full support and inherited the DS console's userbase. Back in 2015, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said the company doesn't see a market for a Vita sequel. It's hard to imagine the tech giant changing its mind since then. In addition to ending the production of physical Vita games in March, Sony will also stop including PS3 and Vita titles to the list of free PlayStation Plus games that month. So, in less than a year, Vita gamers can only either buy digital games or import releases from Asia.
It seems my plea to Sony to keep supporting its erstwhile handheld, the Vita, went unheard. The company is ending production of its game cards, meaning the slow death of gamings least-loved current-gen console finally begins in earnest. But all is not lost for the Vita. The loss of game cards dont change anything about the handheld itself, and its strengths will still be there even as support from its parent company dwindles. CNBC liked TNW Conference that muchThe details: According to Kotaku, Sony is ending all production of Vita physical game cards next year. If you want to buy any games new, youll have to do so by the middle of February 2019. Also, if you were hoping to keep downloading free Vita games every month, youre out of luck there too: Sony announced earlier this year itd be discontinuing Vita games on its PS Plus service at around the same time. This means, as far as games go, Vita owners will probably be restricted largely to whats already on the system, save for intrepid developers. If I were a betting woman, Id say were most likely to see a series of indies and Japanese RPGs in the future — mostly because thats what were seeing now. But wait, theres more: Sony specified to a Kotaku spokesperson that the Vitas digital game system would continue to be supported even after the physical media was no longer available. Two of the handhelds strengths are its ability to remotely operate PS4 games and its digital catalog of vintage games. Neither of those are going to change, especially if digital distribution sticks around for a few more years. The only thing that could really endanger the Vita at this point would be if its proprietary memory cards go away — the Vita only works with them. Kotakus report doesnt specify whether Sonys also stopping production of any Vita-related hardware. If it does, thatll mean the price of of these already-expensive items will probably skyrocket. Any Vita fans out there who want to stock up for the future , Id recommend getting an extra now, while you can. I certainly will. The Next Webs 2018 conference is almost here, and itll be . Find out all about our tracks here.