It's official: Sony has stopped production of the PS Vita in Japan, bringing an end to their oft-maligned handheld system. The model page for the two remaining variants now says that "shipments are finished." The corresponding product page no longer has Vita's specs, instead also saying that "shipments are finished," and listing all of the models ever produced. While the previous update to the model and product pages suggested that the day might be coming soon, many expected it to come at the end of the quarter, on March 31st.
Vita cartridges themselves aren't slated to end production until the end of the month, but many developers and publishers have already ceased production, or made cuts to release schedules. With the Switch all but dominating handheld gaming, the decision not to continue the PSP line into the next generation likely came quite easily for Sony. That's not to say that Sony might not look to smartphones as the next evolution of handheld gaming; our original article notes that Sony executives are fully aware of their usefulness and ubiquity. Hopefully, Sony continues to resuscitate long-dead IPs, if only on smartphones.
As Sony likely looks to continue their market domination of home consoles, this likely also played a role in their decision to end further production. Alternatively, with Sony planning on skipping E3 this year for the first time ever, this could also be seen as a restructuring move for the tech giant as they appear likely to have a quieter line up this year. With rumors abounding already about some major announcements that may come out of E3, Sony's presence at the show will be sorely missed. With the Vita now dead, Sony will cede the rest of the handheld market to the already runaway Switch.
What are your memories of the PS Vita? Why do you think it failed to gain traction in western markets? Let us know in the comments below!