Sony has officially discontinued the PlayStation Vita, its only remaining handheld console offering, days after confirming that PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) subscribers would no longer receive Vita games as a subscription benefit.

Launched in 2011 in Japan and 2012 in the rest of the world, the PlayStation Vita was a beefed-up successor to Sony's PlayStation Portable and less-successful PSP Go. Adding functionality including a touch-screen LED and rear-facing touch interface panel - the latter showcased in first-party games but often ignored elsewhere - the Vita aimed to draw players in to the PlayStation ecosystem with features such as the ability to stream PlayStation 4 games to the handheld while also fighting off the threat from mobile gaming.

The writing appeared on the wall last week, though, when Sony confirmed that the March PlayStation Plus bundle would not include PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita games. The former was understandable, as the PlayStation 3 was discontinued in 2016 in Europe and 2017 in Japan; the PlayStation Vita, meanwhile, was still officially an ongoing concern - until Sony announced that it, too, was being discontinued this weekend.

The Vita has been on life support for some time: A licensing shift saw features including YouTube stripped from the console's operating system, the PlayStation Vita TV microconsole proved very short-lived, and in 2018 Sony confirmed it was to cease production of physical games - though the consoles themselves were still produced at the time.

The discontinuation leaves Sony without a handheld console, and there's no sign that the company is looking to change that in a market that rival Nintendo - with its 2DS, 3DS, and Switch families - appears to have sewn up.

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