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How Sony Crushed This Developer's Dreams

It's no secret that the PS Vita was a sales failure, but the handheld console still has its fans. Recently, PlayStation announced that it would cease support of the PS Vita and close its online storefronts for the PS3 and PSP on July 2 and the Vita on Aug. 27, 2021. In the process, Sony crushed one developer's dream.

While the move to shut down online support for older systems might seem like a foregone conclusion, PlayStation neglected to let some game studios know it was discontinuing service. As a result, one developer, Lillymo Games, was left in the lurch, and found out the heartbreaking news at the same time the rest of the world did. On March 29, Lillymo Games announced on its Twitter account that it would no longer be able to release the Vita version of its next game. Though fans will be able to pick up Lillymo Games' newest project on other platforms, the Vita version is officially dead.

Lillymo Games explained to a fan in a tweet, "You are finding out at the same time we are, I was working on Vita specific tasks this morning." Lillymo Games also elaborated that a physical release or cross-buy release weren't available to developers, and that cross-buy would only be available to games that had already been released. Several fans recommended that Lillymo Games release new content via Homebrew or emulators, but the company stated that "not only would it not make any financial sense, but it would get us in trouble."

Cross-buy allows gamers to play Vita games on multiple systems after purchase. So those who purchased a game on the Vita might also be able to play the game on the PS3 or PS4. However, not all games support cross-buy. Also, as Lillymo Games explained, cross-buy only affects games that have already been released. In other words, purchasing Lillymo Games' next project on the PS4 would not make the game playable on the Vita.

Other developers found themselves in a bind as well, left with games that would only be on the market for a few months before the big shutdown. Thomas Altenburger of Flying Oak Games tweeted that ScourgeBringer will be a forced limited release on the Vita, only available for purchase for 128 days before the PS Vita's online storefront ceases operations.

While Sony's announcement to cease support for the Vita is a bummer for multiple reasons, it's not unexpected. Sony stopped producing the Vita in 2019, so the online storefront was bound to close eventually. That being said, indie producers like Lillymo Games have found a comfortable home on the portable system, and have continued to release games on it in addition to other platforms. 

Habroxia 2, Lillymo Games' most recent game, is available on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and yes, the PS Vita. Players who want to support indie developers like Lillymo Games can still make purchases up until Aug. 27, when the digital storefront will close. Gamers who purchased games on the PlayStation Vita will still be able to play downloaded games even after the PSN ceases Vita support.