Gone But Not Forgotten
We’ve talked about this repeatedly on the website, but I can’t stress enough the risks of an all-digital games collection. As I just mentioned, games ARE disappearing from the PlayStation Store at an alarming rate. If there are games that you are interested in, I’d strongly advise you to get them as soon as you can before it’s too late. The Vita and PSP have already seen countless titles removed from the Store for various reasons. Some are due to expired licenses, others simply due to publishers going out of business. Regardless, these digital titles will not be around forever.
Warner Bros., for example, recently ended their license deal with LEGO over the Hobbit and Lords Of The Rings franchise. This resulted in every game related to either being taken offline. While it hasn’t affected anyone who already owns any title, it means that none can be purchased from now onwards. The Vita had two LEGO games released, fortunately both with physical releases, and now that is the only way either can be enjoyed. But that’s all it takes – for a simple license agreement to end and a game can disappear forever.
The greatest example of this is PlayStation Mobile. Over 500 titles were released for this modernised version of the Minis. The range had huge potential and offered anyone the chance to develop games for not only the Vita but a range of mobile devices. Keeping to the low entry price for games, there were some genuine gems released for it, but poor marketing and a perception of low standards from the gaming community doomed the platform to failure despite its fanbase. The real problem for PSM is that these games are genuinely disappearing. Consoles had to be activated by a fixed date to be able to run them before the service was shut down, but a runtime package had to be installed as well.
If the package wasn’t installed onto a specific memory card, then PSM titles won’t run and the runtime package can no longer be downloaded. All of the games have now been taken offline by Sony so people who have purchased them can’t even redownload purchases as you can with any other title from the PlayStation Store. The risk with PSM is this… if a memory card fails, even after backing your games up they may not run without the runtime package. If your Vita needs to be replaced, they won’t run on a new Vita as you won’t have activated it for PSM with your account. Your purchases will be lost forever. PlayStation Mobile is, quite likely, going to be the first games library to disappear almost completely within a generation.
To try to save and futureproof your PS Vita games collection, there really is only one option. Physical copies. While some games are extremely difficult to find such as those produced by Limited Run Games, most PS Vita games aren’t too expensive. The advantages of a physical collection are numerous. Not only will it save you valuable memory card space but also negate the need to redownload titles from the PlayStation Store if you ever need to in the future. It removes the worry that many gamers have of their favourite games disappearing from the store as well. If you own the physical copy, it’s always yours no matter what.
If you’re planning on making the changeover to a physical collection we’d suggest a balanced approach. Look at games that have been removed from the store and prioritise those first. But also look at file sizes and try to get the larger games so you can free up more memory card space as you need it. Next, if you are a PlayStation Plus member, consider replacing games you have obtained freely in the event that you cancel your membership and finally just consider bargains as you find them.
We hope this helps most of you to futureproof your PS Vita and enjoy many more years of happy gaming with the great console. We’d love to hear how you all get on in the comments below or any other tips you might have.