Sony is Shutting Down the PS3 & PS Vita Stores: Why This is Concerning
According to thegamer.com, the PlayStation 3, PS Vita and PSP stores are set to close down: PSP and PS3 stores will close July 2nd, 2021 and the PS Vita store will close August 27th.
In a lot of ways this makes sense. The PS3 launched way back in 2006, and we're already 2 console generations past it with the PS5 (which I still haven't got), so I get that after 15 years, maybe it's time to lay it to rest. Same thing with the PSP and PS Vita, but to a lesser extent. They're still pretty old and a bit outdated by now.
However, despite taking the consoles' ages into consideration and the logic behind it, I think that this will prove to be a bad idea unless Sony takes some steps in a certain direction.
Tons of indie developers have games that are only playable through downloads, not having the money, distribution etc. to have a worldwide physical release. Therefore, if these online stores are shut down, so too are all of your methods of playing these games.
Along with a lot of indie games, the PS3 and PSP stores are home to multiple PlayStation 1 games. It's actually how I was able to play most of my PS1 games for the first time. Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, all of these I got on my PS3 due to low availability and cost of the physical games. Right now, there's no way to play these kinds of games on PS4 or PS5 (officially), so this method of easily accessible old games is soon to go away, it seems.
I'm surprised big-name companies like Sony are still doing stuff like this, especially considering how badly the Scott Pilgrim incident went. For those uninitiated, Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game was an indie game that got pulled from digital stores a while back (the end of 2014 to be exact), so no one could ever buy it again. Only in the past year has it come back on the Nintendo Switch and various other consoles, but it took around 6 years to do so.
You would think such a huge negative fan reaction to permanently removing a beloved game would leave an impression, but I guess not. All hope is not lost, however.
As of right now, you can't play a good chunk of these download-only games on newer consoles, but that doesn't mean that Sony won't add them to their newer stores later on down the line. I mean, I doubt they will, but it's possible! I just hope this doesn't foretell of game companies being more willing than they already are to completely ditch old games in favor of the new product.
So what are you supposed to do if all of these games you may want to play are soon to be gone forever? Buy them now before it's too late. Otherwise you're gonna be on eBay for months on end looking for someone selling a PS3 with specific games downloaded on it. Unlikely, to say the least.