Rumors have recently circulated that Sony plans to fully close the online stores for PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP sometime this summer. While the company hasn’t publicly responded to this speculation, they did quietly make a move today that may indicate that those closures are coming after all.
An update in October of last year made it so that consumers could only buy PS4 and PS5 games via the web store, forcing them to use their PS3, Vita, and PSP hardware to pick up any games for those consoles. However, savvy fans soon realized that using region-specific links would allow them to still access the web stores to buy anything they wanted, and that worked fine for a while. As of today, though, hopeful buyers are being sent to an error page when using the links, effectively signaling full closures may be imminent.
Since the PS3, especially, marks the first major console with digital games to be headed toward shutdown, much controversy has arisen about how such a closure would affect the digital libraries of those who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars building them up. There’s a lot we don’t know about what may happen to said libraries, but we can easily assume that removing the ability for players to obtain legal copies of games is quite likely to increase the demand for emulation and drive up a tendency for piracy.
It’s worth noting that store closures would only make it so players can’t make new purchases on older platforms, while previous purchases would remain fully downloadable and playable – at least for a while. As pointed out in a tweet by HikikomoriMedia, it’s not necessarily that simple. Issues seem to arise when the console’s clock battery inevitably dies and can no longer authenticate the time with Sony’s servers, setting up a distant future in which gamers with tons of time and money invested in their older digital libraries could potentially be unable to access titles altogether. Yikes.
As of now, though, the company hasn’t addressed this or any of the many other concerns consumers have voiced regarding closures. Still, the stores remain open on each of the platforms currently, so feel free to buy up any games you may have overlooked all these years. But do so cautiously, as we simply don’t know the full extent of how these increasingly likely shutdowns will affect game libraries in the long-term.