As technology ever marches onwards, we often have to say goodbye to things of the past. Apparently that time is about to come for three of Sony’s consoles and their online stores.
Following an allegedly reliable but yet unconfirmed report from TheGamer, Sony’s online stores for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PS Vita will be shutting down in only a few months time.
On March 29th, the news has been officially confirmed by Sony via emails sent out to PlayStation users.
On March 22nd, tech and video game website TheGamer reported through an unnamed but verified source, that Sony will be making an announcement later this month about the closing of several of their online marketplaces. A week later, Sony confirmed this and as of July 2nd, 2021, the PS3 and PSP online marketplaces will be taken down, followed by the PS Vita’s on August 27th.
Hints of this coming happened back in October of 2020 when Sony redesigned their online store via access through the official website. The restructuring added PlayStation 5 content while simultaneously removing games for the PS3, PSP, and Vita. The only way to access digital sales for the consoles at that point was through the actual respective consoles themselves. Prior to this, back in March of 2019, Sony stopped providing monthly free games for the PS3 and Vita through their PlayStation Plus service. This latest announcement seems to be the ultimate ending point to further digital content, leaving the only way to obtain further games being through physical media.
What does this mean for content previously purchased? The initial report didn’t mention whether or not you’ll still be able to redownload previously purchased titles, but it has now been confirmed, yes, you can. Any game, movie, or DLC previously obtained can be repurchased through the respective system’s download list. So clearly Sony intends on keeping up some degree of online functionality. Compare this to when Nintendo ended all online functionality for the Wii and DS, which cut off the ability to redownload anything. Could this be the ultimate fate for the older Sony systems? Eventually, sure. But as for now there’s no need to start backing up your data.
While it’s hard to say that this news is surprising after two subsequent console generations, it’s none the less sad, discouraging, and a bit frightening in its own right. There are thousands of games available between the three consoles, with not all of them having physical releases that you can just pop into a disc drive.
So if there were an digital games you were interested in that you’ve been sitting on for a while, or any DLC that you haven’t purchased that you’ve been thinking about getting, now’s the time to act.
[Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated on March 29th, 2021 to reflect Sony’s confirmation of the various PSN closures and post closure access to previously downloaded titles.]