Earlier this week, Sony dealt a blow that we all knew was coming. The company revealed to developers that it will stop producing physical game cartridges for the PS Vita, a move that marks the beginning of the end for the handheld in a lot of ways. While Sony might be ready sunset the PS Vita in the US and Europe, it looks like the handheld is being saved from a similar fate in Japan.
In a new (and brief) interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment, Japanese gaming site GameSpark asks if the decision to halt physical cartridge production is one that applies to the Vita’s home country as well. Sony says that production of PS Vita game carts will continue domestically, giving no indication of when production might end.
Even here in the US and in Europe, PS Vita fans still have quite some time before physical cartridge production stops entirely. Sony’s memo to developers said production will stop at the end of its current fiscal year, which is March 31, 2019. Developers still have time to release their games on physical media, and even after production halts, they can keep releasing games digitally on the PlayStation Store until Sony pulls the plug there as well.
In Japan, the PS Vita is something of the hit it never became in other regions. The handheld is still much more popular over there than it ever was here in the States or in Europe, so it isn’t surprising to hear that physical game production will continue to some unknown point in the future.
Still, the writing is on the wall. Sony announced earlier this year that it will stop offering free PlayStation Plus games for PS3 and PS Vita in 2019. It’s clear that Sony doesn’t really see a bright future for the PS Vita, so we’ll see how long the device can hold on in Japan.