Sony are shutting down the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation Portable this summer, it has been revealed in a report by TheGamer. After 2nd July 2021 you will no longer be able to purchase PS3 or PSP games, and from 27th August 2021, the PS Vita store will also close.
From those dates onward, you will no longer be able to purchase new digital games or DLC for those three platforms, though we would expect that you are still able to re-download previous purchases for the foreseeable future.
The decision comes after Sony overhauled the PlayStation Store in the run up to the PlayStation 5 release last year. In the process, Sony decided to hide PS3, PS Vita and PSP games from view in the web browser version of the store, however this content could still be accessed via the consoles themselves – you can still access the old PS Store here.
While there’s no official announcement from Sony on the matter, the company will need to give advance notice of changes to their service, giving gamers a last chance to access these games.
While none of the consoles are relevant to the current gaming landscape – the PS Vita ceased production in 2019, the PS3 in 2017 and the PSP in 2014 – it’s still a shame to see them being ushered off to the graveyard like this. It also emphasises the lack of permanence to digital media. While you will no longer be able to buy the games for these systems, there will surely still be a healthy second hand trade in physical copies of games.
The situation would surely be very different if there was the ability to play any of these games on PS4 or PS5. The PS3’s notoriously awkward system architecture was very powerful, but meant that Sony could not rely on emulation to get the games to run on newer systems. The PSP and PS Vita could potentially be emulated, but Sony must not have the desire to do so.
It’s a path that’s already been trod on several occasions by Nintendo, who discontinued the DSiWare store in 2017 and the Wii Shop Channel in 2019. The Wii U eShop and 3DS survive for now, but you get the feeling that Wii U’s days are numbered in particular. By contrast, you can access four generations of video games on Xbox, from the original Xbox through to the Xbox Series X, all because of the extensive backward compatibility of those systems.