The PS Vita seems to be on its last legs. Ever since Sony announced that starting next year, Vita games would not be part of the PS Plus monthly games lineup, the thought that the Vita was being phased out seemed accurate. It looks like the phasing out has already begun, at least in Spain. In a Twitter response dated March 19 to a user having difficulty finding a Vita to purchase, the official PlayStation of Spain account responded:
Hola! Efectivamente está descatalogada, sí.— PlayStation España (@PlayStationES) March 19, 2018
PlayStation's response translates to: "Hello! It's actually discontinued, yes." It should of course be noted that outside the February announcement of Vita games disappearing from the PS Plus monthly lineup in 2019, Sony of America has not officially said anything about the Vita being discontinued altogether in North America or other areas. So far, Spain is the only confirmed country (according to the translated tweet) to have the Vita discontinued.
It probably won't be long though until the Vita is discontinued worldwide. Released worldwide in 2012, the Vita was the sequel to the successful PlayStation Portable. The Vita has competed with the Nintendo 3DS. In fact, the Vita was the only competition for Nintendo in the handheld console market at that point. The Vita had some notable exclusive titles, including Uncharted: The Golden Abyss and Little Big Planet PS Vita. They, however, weren't enough to help the Vita deliver impressive sales or match the 3DS in popularity.
As of September 2017, the 3DS has sold over 60 million units, while estimated sales for the Vita were under 20 million, according to a chart by Statista. Why is there such a big gap? It could be that unlike the 3DS, which offered a vast library of exclusive titles, the Vita didn't offer much incentive to those who purchased a PS4 a few years later. It also doesn't help that the Vita has seemingly not been a major focus for Sony in recent time. The final nail in the coffin might be the Nintendo Switch, which is now dominating both the home and handheld gaming markets.
It remains to be seen if other countries will follow Spain in discontinuing the Vita sooner or later. The future is not bright for the handheld console, as there are not much new things on the horizon for it. Coupled with the onslaught of the 3DS and now the Switch, it looks likes the Vita will meet a quiet, painful demise.