May 16, 2018 // 10:50 a.m.
Sony has confirmed that it is ceasing the manufacture of physical games for the PlayStation Vita, its ill-fated hand-held console, within a year.
Known under the codename of Next Generation Portable (NGP) before being announced as the PlayStation Vita, Sony's successor to the PlayStation Portable was not a success. Launch delays soured many to the device while misleading advertising did for others, and while Sony did its best to innovate - the console featured both a front touch-screen and rear touch-pad, could be purchased in a variant with 3G mobile connectivity, and allowed users to play PS3 and PS4 games remotely from a host console - sales were significantly below Sony's expectations everywhere except the company's native Japan.
In the last few years the company has been slowly sunsetting the device: Firmware updates have eroded functionality, and earlier this year the company removed Vita games from PlayStation Plus, its subscription-based online gaming service which had previously given users access to a series of PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita games in exchange for their subscription fee.
Now, it looks like the Vita's days are truly numbered: Following the leaking of an email to developers, gaming site Kotaku has confirmed with Sony that manufacturing of physical cartridges for the console, which replaced the somewhat clunky Universal Media Disc (UMD) optical discs of its predecessor, will cease at the end of its financial year in March 2019.
The email warned developers in America and Europe to place their physical cartridge orders by February 2019. The company has not, however, offered any details on when - rather than if - it plans to retire the Vita itself.