In an interview with VG247, PlayStation UK Managing Director Fergal Gara said that a digital-only future for the Playstation Vita is not out of the question.
"Compared to PS3, Vita has had a higher percentage of games bought digitally since it was first launched," explained Gara. "It's interesting and it demonstrates how many people look at it as the iPod of handheld gaming. More Vita games are still consumed through physical game cards than they are through digital, but things are increasingly moving the other way. Could be that in future physical games becomes the side we do without."
The rise in multi-purpose tablets and smartphones has been a difficult thorn on the side of the Vita's success, as consumers are finding they don't want a device that's perceived as just playing games. Gara acknowledges that other mobile devices can be a problem for the Vita.
"The truth is that the number of people that want the core experience [that Vita offers] is not as big as the number that simply want any sort of game available on the move and, because the likes of a tablet and smart phone are so multifunctional in their use, they will always be very appealing," said Gara. "Really, I think the reason it hasn't sold more is that it comes down to people thinking: 'Do I need it as well as these other things that are taking my money?'"
The PlayStation 4's success and the Vita Remote Play feature means the Vita itself could see some additional sales, but Sony is cognizant about making sure the portable doesn't get trampled by PS4 hype.
"It's our job to make the message clear to people so that they understand the Vita is a console in its own right and also a great partner to the PS4."