In a shock move, Sony Interactive Entertainment have contacted developers this week with details of upcoming dramatic changes to the PlayStation Store. With the impending release of the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, Sony are updating the online store to accommodate the new system. However, in doing so it will impact legacy systems, specifically the PS Vita, PSP and PS3.
In essence, Sony will be removing all content from the online store for legacy platforms in the very near future. As part of the restructuring of their online digital storefront, Sony have made the decision to remove all content for the PS Vita, PSP and PS3. This will come into immediate effect once the new version of the website is introduced on 19th October, and 28th October for the mobile version of the website. From that point onwards the only gaming content you will be able to purchase through these stores will be for the PS4 or PS5.
Sony are now cutting off store access completely for older platforms. Instead, owners of the PS3 and Vita will only be able to purchase games using the platform’s built-in store apps. While this isn’t a major issue for the PS3, the PS Vita’s store is a flawed shopping experience. With new releases seldom being showcased, an unreliable search function and limited categorisation it’s cumbersome to use.
The news is even worse for those who still use their PSPs. A while back Sony deactivated the storefront on the PSP meaning that games could only be purchased for the console using the web based store. Gamers would then need to transfer them across from a PC or PS3. From the end of this month the only games that will be available to PSP owners will be Minis, PSOne or PS Vita compatible games that be bought using a PS3 or Vita. Others will be lost forever.
Unfortunately there isn’t a simple way forward. There are sites trying to compile a list of currently available PS Vita games so people know what is on the store. It will still mean using the Vita’s store and it’s cumbersome search do it will make buying games a chore for many. The only Vita games that will be easy to find will be those that are Cross Buy. These should still be visible in the web store when searching for their PS4 counterparts.
Games that you have already purchased are still safe to redownload (for now) but the question still hangs overhead as to how long games will still be available for the Vita and PS3.
This could be the last straw for some Vita developers. It’s hard enough for many to make profit on Vita games. But with Sony not promoting Vita games any more, and making it harder to buy them, not forgetting the fact that it’s harder for them to pass their approval process this may be one step too far.
Opening The Door To Piracy?
This could be the deciding factor for many that will encourage more to hack their Vitas. It’s a sad state of affairs when gamers feel that they may be faced with piracy as their only option to get some Vita games in the future.
That very situation happened with PlayStation Mobile a few years ago when the services was discontinued. Over 500 games disappeared from the Vita’s library overnight. I’m certainly not condoning piracy at all, but it does feel as if Sony doesn’t WANT our money at all. If games *aren’t* available to buy in any way, can gamers really be criticised?
Hopefully the Vita’s store will be active for a while yet, but given Sony’s track record we’d strongly recommend you buy as many of the games that you want as soon as you can.