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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has officially killed the PlayStation Vita, ceasing production of the remaining versions of the handheld console.

Its demise has been imminent for a while, with PS Vita games no longer supported by the firm's PlayStation Plus subscription service as of this Friday, 8 March, and physical game manufacturer being ceased last year.

However, it is now fully confirmed with the last models appearing on PlayStation's "shipment complete" list.

Sadly, it marks the end of Sony's handheld gaming ambitions too, as it has previously said it has no plans to replace the Vita.

Existing Vita owners will still be able to purchase games through the PlayStation Store, so it will be supported in that fashion for a while yet, but it is otherwise no longer a concern for Sony.

What this says about the handheld gaming market in general is obvious. With developers also winding down support for the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS consoles, mainly in favour of Switch and smartphone apps, dedicated handhelds are in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

It's not all doom and gloom, however. Phone manufacturers are keen to embrace gaming with devices that prioritise it, such as the Razer Phone 2 and Asus ROG Phone, with its on-board cooling system.

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Plus, Xbox plans for its cloud gaming platform, Project xCloud, include access and play through smartphones.

So, while handheld games consoles could disappear, handheld gaming itself is still very much a growing concern. In fact, it could even be argued that it has never been stronger.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 4 March 2019.