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PlayStation Vita Losing YouTube, Maps and Near Application Functionality

(Image by Sony Computer Entertainment)

Sony is ceasing support for a few PlayStation Vita applications and features.

The company announced Wednesday that Vita users will soon no longer be able to use the YouTube and Maps applications as well as certain features of the Near app on the PlayStation handheld.

As of today the YouTube application for PS Vita can no longer be downloaded from the PlayStation Store. Those that had already downloaded the app to their Vita can still use it to watch YouTube but it will completely stop working after April 20.

Vita users will now have to watch YouTube videos through the handheld’s Internet browser. A Sony representative said the app’s removal was due to YouTube’s API changing that made it harder to further support it, according to Ars Technica.

The YouTube app released for the Vita in June 2012. YouTube now uses HTML5 as the default web player instead of Adobe Flash, making it more accessible across all devices.

The Maps application is being completely removed from the handheld while some features of the Near app will be gone from the Vita through a firmware update this March. Sony said Vita owners can instead use Google Maps from the web browser. The Near feature is tied to the Maps application, which shows the geographical location of Vita players. After the update it will no longer be able to display maps or locations of other Vita users.

The Near application is a social network-style feature that let Vita users share with nearby players what games they played, find other Vita users, see ratings for games and leave gifts from certain games for other players. Near works through Wi-Fi or with GPS on the discontinued 3G Vita model.

Out-and-about history, out-and-about radar and local game chart data from the Near app from before the March update will be retained but deleted after seven days, according to Sony. This data shows different events like locations visited, people encountered, games discovered and game ratings found using Near.

Since its launch the PlayStation Vita has shifted focus from big first and third-party releases to indie titles also available on other PlayStation platforms and Remote Play with PlayStation 4 games. The Vita first launched across North America in February 2012.

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