Sony has announced it’s ceasing production of PlayStation Vita game cards in America and Europe, Kotaku reported.
Digital distribution will continue and it sounds like production of physical versions will carry on in Asia.
Kotaku learnt the news through a document Sony sent to developers, stating its “plan to end all Vita GameCard production by close of fiscal year 2018” (which ends on March 31st 2019). A Sony spokesperson then confirmed the info to the publication via email.
The initial message also asked that “all Vita product code requests be submitted by June 28, 2018, and that final purchase orders be entered by February 15, 2019,” Kotaku wrote.
The PS Vita came out in 2012, with Sony failing to reach its sales expectations for the handheld (the platform holder aimed for 10m units sold by March 2013). Mid-2017, it was estimated that 15m units had been sold since launch, with the Vita being largely abandoned by players outside of Japan.
It still has a few loyal developers and publishers, such as NIS America, though NISA's senior associate producer Alan Costa told MCV last October that the Vita "isn't really the place to be right now" despite its “incredibly hardcore” fanbase. Former Sony CEO Andrew House himself said last September that he was not seeing handheld gaming outside of Asia “as being a huge market opportunity.”
Earlier this year, Sony dropped PS Plus support for both the Vita and PS3.