As early as this Wednesday, visitors to the PlayStation Store using either a desktop or smartphone might notice that the selection has become…a whole lot lighter. The reason for it being that three of Sony’s legacy platforms, PS3, PSP and PS Vita are being dropped from the PlayStation store on PC and mobile devices. Avatars, Themes, Apps and other ancillary content for consoles that pre-date the PS4 will also be going away. In a nutshell, this means that all games, DLC and related content specific to those aforementioned PlayStation legacy platforms, including add-ons, Avatars, Themes, etc. will no longer be accessible to purchase or remote download to those consoles via PC or mobile. Players will still be able to purchase and/or download legacy content via the bespoke PlayStation storefronts on PS3 and PS Vita however. The details of these changes were messaged directly to PlayStation Store users via an official e-mail sent to PlayStation users last week.
The communication goes on to assure users that they “will still be able to access (their) previously purchased PS3, PSP or PS Vita content as before”, and that PS4 apps, themes and avatars will still be available to download from the PS Store via the PS4 console, both promises that have been echoed on the PlayStation Support page in regards to the changes. These changes are expected to come into effect during the period of October 21st to 26th on PC and on Mobile by October 28th.
On its face the situation does not yet appear that dire for PS3 and PS Vita owners, but considering how these changes will all but eliminate the visibility, awareness and availability of classic PlayStation games beyond the PS3 and PS Vita’s archaic, built-in digital storefronts, it’s hard to doubt that these are the first steps to be made by Sony towards shuttering those storefronts entirely (and probably sooner than anyone expects). There are also more immediate headaches for would-be purchasers as a result of these changes. For one, the removal of PS3, PSP and PS Vita titles from the web and mobile versions of the PlayStation store severely reduces the likelihood that we’ll ever see games for those platforms included in any future store-wide sales, so the current (and often inflated) pricing of those games will likely remain in effect until the stores are mothballed completely…so much for a clearance sale! As for existing digital owners of classic PlayStation games, the ability to remote-download a purchased game to their PS Vita or PS3 using their PC or Smartphone will now be lost, among other conveniences.
Another casualty of the PlayStation Store overhaul on all platforms is the Wishlist, which allowed PlayStation Store users to create a personalized list of games they were interested in purchasing and and easily check at a glance which titles were on sale. According to the Sony e-mail, the discontinuation of the feature includes the removal of any and all items currently in the wishlist, including PS4 content. There was no mention in the e-mail as to if or when a new replacement wishlist feature would be incoming.
As a gamer who embraces digital distribution but also values videogame preservation, in light of of this news I strongly advise that PS3 and PS Vita owners take advantage of available, legal backup options available to them to keep their games accessible, especially for the PS Vita, which can still be easily backed up directly to a PS3 via USB connection or to a PC using a Sony-provided Windows app called “Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation” (updates may be required).