Traditionally, as a console gets older, the console maker adds new features and compatible apps for users to download. Sony is taking the opposite tack with the PlayStation Vita in the coming months, though, planning to disable a few apps and features that have worked on the system since launch.
Sony announced early this morning that it would be ending support for the Vita's free YouTube and Maps apps, as well as the geo-location features of the Vita-based "Near" social network. YouTube will no longer be available for download after February 28, and it will be officially unsupported after April 20. Maps and Near geotagging, meanwhile, will be disabled alongside a firmware update planned for March, even for users who decide not to download the update.
Sony didn't offer any reason for the sudden removal of these Vita features, but the company explained via a pair of FAQs that both YouTube and Google Maps could still be accessed through the Vita's Web browser, with some minor differences in functionality (Sony may want to thank the rise of HTML5 video in YouTube's case). While Near will technically still work after the update, the app won't be able to broadcast your location or find other Vita owners that are, ahem, "near" you, severely limiting its usefulness.