Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sony ending western Vita game card production in spring '19

This is one of those mornings! Wake up, check phone - Twitter activity spinning like mad! Which means either someone very famous has died or Sony is making another effort to kill off the Vita.

Turns out its the later, with news that western Vita game card production will cease at the end of March 2019, with all orders needing to be in by June this year. This is just the latest step Sony is taking to move on from Vita, and with reducing numbers of physical releases, it isn't much of a surprise. It looks like we have another year of game cards, then another year of hardware production, perhaps.

For the mainstream gaming press its time to run out yet another "Vita is dead" story (unironically unaware that 20 such stories in five years is sort of self-defeating). For Vita fans, it's another "Sony, you heartless bitch!" moment. But, Sony stopped caring long ago, and presumably, the economics are starting to count against us.


On the positive side (thinks a bit, scratches head, stares into coffee):
  • Japanese and Asian production continues, more VNs and the odd Asian English title to come, now here's Trent with the weather! 
  • There's probably that one Sony employee in his little Vita card factory plugging away. He maybe spoke out of turn at a meeting in 2013, and Sony's punishment was to send him there, locked away from the modern world. He can now be freed! 
  • Vita hardware and memory card production continues. Unless there's a further announcement to come. With Sony selling 3K to 5K in Japan a week, there's no reason not to. 
  • Related to that, the number of western collectors is growing week-on-week, not in numbers that Sony cares about, but the growth is there for us to see (waves hello to the recent new Vita owners). Buyers won't likely care that physical games end in a year, with numbers massively down anyway. 
  • It gives focus to any existing developers to get their skates on before the cut-off deadline. There's plenty of work to do still, and this gives every developer and publisher a firm time frame to work to. 
  • Limited Editions could still continue, just in that weird meta-physical way. Boxes can still be sold, with audio CDs or vinyl soundtracks, packed with collector cards, plushies, toys, models, badges and so on. All gamers have to do is download the title. Sure reselling collectors won't be happy, but screw them! The sort of people that won't open a game box or toy are heartless morons! 
  • The Vita collector/buying market itself will rise as people get onboard before Sony really, seriously, kills the platform off. (Hopefully, they aren't all heartless morons trying to snap up the "last-ever Vita game!" to resell at stupid prices.)
  • Third-party is a possibility. If there's money to be made, what's to stop Sony selling or outsourcing production to another company to continue to print games? If a game proves succesful, can't they make a production run in Japan? 
  • In a perverse way, and while Japan will still get physical releases, this will push more developers to the Switch. Making Nintendo's baby even more successful, perhaps forcing Sony to respond with some new hybrid product! There's already been lots of chat about the VN market migrating to Nintendo. now it allows mature content. So, the pressure will grow from investors (who you can bet are pervy gamers by night) for Sony to do something. 
So, the game isn't over, and never will be. Personally, being a perma-broke gamer, I've relied mostly on PSN sales and second-hand games for my Vita fun, so I'm not doom-and-gloom about this.

Online there's the usual amount of angst, but people will get over it when the world fails to end and we all move on.

Thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment