While new games will still be made available digitally for the PlayStation Vita, Sony has announced that it will soon close out production of physical cartridges for the console. In other news, physical Vita cartridges were, apparently, still being produced.
To be clear, that was not a dig at the Vita, as I still use the Sony portable on a regular basis. But I haven't seen new game cartridges for the console, except for with special edition packaging of various games, in a long time. They were taken out of the video games section of most big box stores years ago.
However, according to a recent report from Kotaku, physical cartridges for the Vita are still being made. But, Sony has reportedly asked developers to get in any final requests for cartridges by June 28 of this year, with the final purchase orders being entered by Feb. 15 of 2019. In other words, Sony is looking to conclude production of the cartridges by the end of their current fiscal year, which wraps on March 31, 2019.
Believe it or not, the Vita has been hanging on strong in Japan, with a small but dedicated audience existing in Europe and the U.S. The console has had a surprising lifespan, especially considering how Sony handled the device. The Vita first shipped back in 2012 with some pretty ambitious hardware and ambitions at its back. Some big games rolled out for the console, including offerings from the Uncharted, Resistance and Killzone franchises, but Sony's first party development basically dried up after year two. Still, the console proved to be a fantastic home for Japanese developers, as well as indie games and plenty of PlayStation One classics.
Until the Switch arrived, the Vita was the go-to console for many indie fans. This past year, though, Nintendo has proven that their new home console/portable hybrid is a swell place for that exact same library. What's interesting is that many folks complained the Vita was a bit on the large side to be a portable console back in 2012, but nobody seems to mind lugging around the Switch.
Another big plus for the Vita was the ability to use remote play. Sure, that functionality was only really utilized by a niche audience, but the ability to play PS3 and PS4 games from another room in the house was pretty handy.
While physical games will only be released on the Vita for about another year, the digital market will likely keep ticking until the audience finally moves on. With six years under its belt, that's been a pretty impressive run for a console whose own developer all but abandoned it four years ago.