Sony confirm PlayStation Store closure on PS3, PS Vita and PSP

Sony has confirmed that they will be closing the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3, PlayStattion Vita and PlayStation Portable this summer, meaning that users will no longer be able to purchase new digital games or DLC using those devices from their respective closure dates. You will, however, still be able to access previously purchased content.

The PS3 store will close on 2nd July 2021, the PS Vita store on 27th August and what remains of purchasing functionality on PSP will also end on 2nd July 2021.

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The announcement comes after reports of the move last week and also follows on from Sony’s overhaul of 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, meaning that this content could only be accessed via the consoles themselves. There was a loophole to access the old version of the web store that people found, but this was closed over the weekend.

Sony has outlined the core features that are remaining and those that are being removed:

Features you will still be able to access:

  • You will still be able to re-download and play previously purchased game titles.
  • You will still be able to access previously purchased video/media content.
  • You will still be able to redeem game and PlayStation®Plus vouchers.
  • You will still be able to re-download and play claimed game titles through PlayStation®Plus as long as you remain a member of the service.

Features you will lose access to:

  • You will no longer be able to purchase PS3, PS Vita and PSP digital content, including games and video content.
  • You will no longer be able to make in-game purchases through games on PS3, PS Vita and PSP.
  • You will no longer be able to redeem PSN wallet fund vouchers (e.g. gift cards) on PS3, PS Vita or PSP devices once PlayStation™Store and purchase functionality for these devices close. Your PSN wallet funds will remain in your PSN account, but you will only be able to use your wallet funds to purchase PS4 and PS5 products on PlayStation™Store on the web, PlayStation®App or on PS4 and PS5 consoles.

The PS Vita is the most recently discontinued PlayStation console.

They have also cleared up some edge cases:

  • With the store no longer working, you must access owned content via the Download List on the console.
  • Any PSN wallet funds will remain attached to your PSN account, but if you do not own a PS4 or PS5, you will be able to request a refund – details of how to refund will be confirmed later.
  • You will still be able to purchase crossbuy games on PS4 with PS3/PS Vita/PSP versions and gain access to those titles on those systems.

All in all, it’s still a sad day for those who have fond memories of the older generations of PlayStation console. It’s surely a decision that is mixed up in metrics showing lowered engagement and the need for legacy code to maintain the storefronts on those platforms, which could be a security risk in the years to come – Sony are no strangers to getting hacked… However, it also highlights the lack of permanence to digital media. Yes, you will still have access to previous purchases, but for how long with that Sony-given privilege last? And that’s before we consider the impact this will have to the ability to preserve video games as part of our culture and history.

Source: PlayStation

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11 Comments

  1. Since I don’t tend to go back to games once I’ve completed them, this doesn’t really affect me, but is still rather concerning that if people haven’t purchased digital games they’ll be locked out of them forever.

    I really hope they hold a sale before they remove the stores. There’s plenty of DLC I still haven’t picked up. Won’t hold my breath though.

  2. There’s one thing I’m not sure about:

    “They have also cleared up some edge cases:
    With the store no longer working, you must access owned content via the Download List on the console.”

    On the PS3 there is a way to access the Download list from outside the PS3 Store.

    However, unless someone can correct me the only place I can find to access the Download List on the PS Vita is by loading the Vita Store on the console first?!?

    I have look at all settings and options and can’t see any other way to access the download list without going through the store and I can’t see them doing a firmware update on a discontinued console.

    Maybe someone at TSA towers could reach out for clarification.

    • Of the top of my head, you can head straight to the download list from the … menu on the PS Store card thingy. Hopefully they can also do something to redirect from the store to the download list.

      • Just got off my arse to check and you definitely have to go into the Vita Store to see the (…) menu in order to access the Download List. My understanding is from the Sony email, your article and other sites is the Store won’t have any access at all so this menu might not be accessible.

        As I said the PS3 does have a section outside the PS3 store to access its Download List. Maybe Sony will still let you go into the PS Vita Store to access the list but disable the ability to purchase anything?!?

        Who knows, I suppose they have a few months to sort it.

  3. Turning off purchases is understandable for ancient consoles. It’ll be costing Sony something to keep allowing them, even just for paying someone to pay publishers for sales. Obviously they’ve decided they’re not making enough money to cover all those costs.

    What I don’t understand is why they ability to download the games has been removed from the web store. The download list has gone, and been replaced by the “game library” thing. (Click on “My PlayStation” in the store). But that only lists PS4 and PS5 games. So you can’t find a PS3 or Vita game there and start the download in that convenient way. Not that it was as convenient as it could be when you were trying to find something buried in your list with no search function. (Browser extensions to help with that are/were available)

    I think some people are making a bit too big of a fuss over the whole thing though. Especially XBox fans who it doesn’t affect in any way and who keep going “oooh, we’ve got backwards compatibility”. Which isn’t quite true anyway. The XBone/Series X/S doesn’t have BC with original XBox and 360 games. It’s got some free ports for a few hundred games. Sony have done a better job of making PS3 games playable on the PS4/5 in terms of numbers. Even if you do have to stream them. And pay for PS Now.

    • I think you should double check your numbers.

      • It’s 502 or so XBox/360 games that had the BC treatment, according to MS themselves. On their US website. The UK one doesn’t seem to want to show anything.

        PS Now has 357 PS3 games and 17 PS2 games. So 374 in total. But there’s quite a few more available in the US. So around 400 in total there.

        So yeah, I wasn’t quite right. MS have clearly added a few more lately. Sony were ahead at one point. And PS Now still has a lot more than Game Pass once you include the PS4 games.

        And if you want to really get silly with the numbers, the PS5 is way ahead of the Series X in BC just due to being so far ahead on how many PS4 games there were compared to XBone games. But I’m not sure we should really be counting a lot of those, as there was definitely a lot of crap published for the PS4.

        The point is, the Series X isn’t any more backwards compatible than the PS5. They can both run the previous generation games. And they both have some older games that were updated to run on the previous (and current) generation. Just that Sony charged for it.

      • Sony’s PS Now library does seem to have shrunk over the years. Microsoft hasn’t added any X360 games since June 2019.

        Your definition of BC is skewed to make your point. Yes, PS5 and XSX have hardware BC to the previous generation, but emulation is also an accepted method of backward compatibility. It’s not modifying the game code, and the console is mimicking the original system in order to run it. It’s BC via software. PS2 games on PS4 are the same. PS3 games streaming via PS Now is fundamentally a different thing, even if the end result is that you can play some PS3 games via a PS5.

        So, by virtue of its software, Xbox Series X|S is more compatible with previous generations of Xbox hardware.

      • You’re trying to define BC the way MS want you to. Are we counting those PS2 games that you can play on a PS4/5 as BC? They’re running in some sort of emulator.

        That’s the same as MS have done with pre-XBone games. Some sort of emulator, but only for those games you’re allowed to play.

        The X|S playing XBone games, and the PS5 playing PS4 games is BC. Packaged up to use in an emulator, if they let you, isn’t, really.

        Sony said “Ok, you can play all your PS4 games, except these few, on a PS5”. MS said “You can play thousands of games. Don’t mention the fact that it’s only a fraction of the earlier consoles games”.

        Neither console is that great at BC for anything before the previous generation. There’s some emulated ones, and some remasters, and some streaming options.

        In terms of proper BC where you can stick the disc in or download the original game, and hope the new hardware doesn’t bugger anything up, they both support precisely 1 previous generation of consoles, and the PS5 has a lot more games available due to the PS4 having more games than the XBone. And if you want to count emulation as BC, then you’ve got to count streaming.

        Let’s not get into the argument about which is a truer presentation of the previous gen games. And emulated game on the 1|X|S that changes the resolution and framerate and tries to add HDR? Or a PS3 game streaming from PS Now running on the actual hardware? (Well, almost the PS3 hardware, however they’ve modified it for PS Now). That argument could get silly ;)

      • Emulation is an (almost universally) accepted form of backward compatibility. PSP games on PS Vita were run via emulation. PS1 games on PSP, PSV and PS3 were emulated. PS2 games on PS4/5 are a form of BC, but not in a business sense after Sony didn’t upgrade PS2 Classics purchases for PS3.

        It’s backward compatibility because the original game code is running locally on newer hardware – streamed games are not. MS probably decided to curate the list so rights holders are happy and so games can be sold digitally (OG Xbox didn’t have digital). There’s less leeway for bugs and poor performance in games compared to Mac OS transitions, where Rosetta translated software from PPC to Intel and now from Intel to Apple Silicon.

      • I think we’ll have to disagree here. It’s a fun argument and you make a good (if wrong) case.

        Most people would think BC means you can just stick your old disc in (or download the game) and it works. Any of your old games. Of course emulation may be involved if hardware differences make it necessary.

        Having only a selection of old games available, and having to download them even if you’ve got the disc there, really isn’t BC. At least not how most people would understand it.

        And if the 1|X|S are really just bundling the game up with an emulator and nothing more, it’s not great that they don’t let you just play everything and take the risk of it not working. Not as bad as Sony bundling PS2 games with an emulator and charging for it. But I guess at least Sony aren’t claiming the PS4/5 are BC with PS2 games.

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