It’s suggested that Sony intends to close the PSP and PS3 stores on July 2 and the Vita store on August 27
Long-term access to digital and even physical video games is one of those concerns that might not necessarily matter day-to-day for the average person, but without intervention – without ongoing preservation efforts – it’s likely going to sneak up on a lot of people. What happens when a digital storefront gets taken down? In the case of PlayStation, we might find out sooner than expected.
According to a report from TheGamer, the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 3 stores are going to shut down in 2021. In the aftermath of such a move, people would no longer be able to buy digital copies of PSP, Vita, and PS3 games and content – they’d be inaccessible to new players.
It’s not official yet – TheGamer’s source believes Sony will make an announcement by the end of this month – but the closure dates are expected to be July 2 (PSP and PS3) and August 27 (Vita).
[Update: Sony confirmed the store closure dates. You’ll still be able to re-download any games you own after the shutdown periods, but new purchases will be prohibited. The countdown has started.]
That’s so soon! To some extent, it’s understandable for support to eventually fade away (or at least be diminished), but I don’t feel like we’re anywhere near ready for that day to come for these platforms.
The current web-based version of the PlayStation Store doesn’t officially support the sale of PSP, Vita, or PS3 games, meaning if you want to buy legacy titles, you need to do so using your original systems. That said, there’s still a workaround to access the “old” PlayStation Store in a browser right here.
On a related note, there’s a well-researched Reddit post circulating again today that recaps a bunch of notable PlayStation 3 exclusives that would be harshly impacted by exactly this kind of store closure. Do you know how I’m always going on about Tokyo Jungle any chance I can get? It’s on the list. Many fantastic digital-only PS3 games have been ported to PS4, but many more of them never were.
It’s unclear if users would still be able to re-download digital PSP, Vita, and PS3 games they own once the stores are closed, but I’d sure hope so at the bare minimum. Either way, I can’t see any long-term path forward that doesn’t rely on hackers, tinkerers, and preservationists who care about this stuff. It’s far more complicated than just retaining games, too – think about DLC, post-launch patches, and rights.
This is an uphill battle even with all hands on deck. We’ve got a lot of those looming, don’t we?