The era of the PlayStation Vita is drawing to a close. You can feel it in the air, but also because reports now say that Sony plans on ending physical production of Vita games.
The report comes from Kotaku which says Sony's American and European branches "plan to end all Vita GameCard production by close of fiscal year 2018." That's March 31, 2019 for Sony. Developers were told to submit product code requests by June 28, 2018 and that final purchase orders should be entered by February 15, 2019. Sony confirmed the news to Kotaku in an email.
PS Vita games can still be purchased digitally after physical cartridge production ends however, signalling some life for Sony's portable console.
The Vita is seemingly being phased out of Sony's main product line-up. The company previously announced that starting next year, after February 2019, Vita games will no longer be offered as part of the PS Plus subscription bundle of free monthly games.
The PS Vita was launched in 2012 as Sony's next-gen portable. At the time, the graphics were some of the best seen on a portable console, but the system couldn't gain ground against mobile devices and the 3DS. Like the PSP before it, the Vita was more popular in Japan than in other territories like North America and Europe, something Sony executives mentioned regularly.
Despite a system refresh, the PS Vita fell by the wayside. Players often asked about Sony's Vita plans for E3 only to be left disappointed. The portable market is seemingly dominated by Nintendo thanks to the Switch and the continued support for the 3DS.