The portable machine is beginning to wind down at Sony. The company is closing the native PlayStation Store on all PlayStation Portable units on March 31. Users will still be able to purchase games on their PSP's, but they have to do so through the web-based PlayStation Store. Sony already killed worldwide shipments of the PlayStation Portable in 2014.
Speaking of ceasing production, Sony has also decided to drop the PlayStation TV in Japan. Japanese site AV Watch (translated via Kotaku) noted that the end of February was the final shipping date for the micro-console in Sony's home region. The company also confirmed to GameSpot that it already ceased shipping the console in the United States and Europe. That only leaves the rest of Asia as potential shipping locations for the PlayStation TV.
"PlayStation TV shipments were terminated at the end of 2015 in SCEA and SCEE," a Sony spokesperson told GameSpot. "Shipment is still continuing in SCEAsia (as of the end of February, 2016), and we have nothing to announce regarding the timing of termination."
Like many of the Android micro-consoles, the PSTV seemed like one of those classic solutions without a problem. There is a small niche of consumers who want to play portable games at home, but for many, the point of portable games is that they're portable. Frequently, those games are made for resolutions that look horrible when they're blown up and the experiences are shorter so people on the move can enjoy them. It was an experiment and the final conclusion seems to be "It was not needed."
Still, both situations taken together show the slow decline of the portable side of Sony. The PlayStation Vita trudges on, based on significant Japanese support and the fact that indies frequently bring their games to PlayStation 4 and Vita. But the likelihood that Sony offers up another dedicated portable is slim, given that even Nintendo is seeing declines in that sector. Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida admitted as much last year at EGX.
"People have mobile phones and it's so easy to play games on smartphones," Yoshida said. "And many games on smartphones are free, or free to start. I myself am a huge fan of PlayStation Vita and we worked really hard on designing every aspect. So I hope, like many of you, that this culture of playing portable games continues but the climate is not healthy for now because of the huge dominance of mobile gaming."
So drink deep, my friends. The Vita is the end and all that's left is Nintendo's NX, which should have some portable aspect. Vita may mean life, but death is still waiting to take it.