Sony backtracks on shutting down the PlayStation Store on the PS3 and PS Vita

Sony backtracks on shutting down the PlayStation Store on the PS3 and PS Vita

Update 1 (04/19/2021 @ 2:02 PM ET): Players will be able to continue to purchase digital games on the PS3 and PS Vita. Click here for more information. The article, as published on March 29, 2021, is preserved below.

Sony just released the PlayStation 5 a few months ago, but many people are still playing games on earlier consoles. However, Sony revealed today that it is shutting down part of the PlayStation Store on its pre-PS4 consoles, marking the end of full support for Sony’s long-discontinued platforms and the death of many digital games.

Earlier this month, reports started to circulate that Sony would close the digital stores for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Potable later this year. It seems they were correct, as Sony confirmed today that the stores for all three platforms will be shut down over the next few months. The digital stores on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable will be retired on July 2, 2021, while the PlayStation Vita’s storefront will be closed shortly afterward on August 27.

Sony noted that even after the shutdown, you’ll still be able to re-download digital games you’ve already purchased, and vouchers for downloadable content will continue to work. Re-downloading games claimed through PlayStation Plus will also work, as long as you remain subscribed. However, you won’t be able to purchase new games or DLC, even with PSN gift cards. If you have a store balance in your PlayStation account, you won’t get a refund unless you request it (though the amount can also be put towards PS4/PS5 games).

The move means countless digital-only games will become completely unavailable, a disappointing end for anyone interested in preserving video game history. The PlayStation Vita will also effectively lose its backward compatibility with PSP games since it only works with PSP titles purchased through the online store — the Vita lacks a UMD disc drive.

Sony isn’t the only one shutting down functionality for its earlier consoles, as Nintendo closed the digital store for the Wii (Wii Shop Channel) in early 2019. The PS3’s other rival during the seventh generation of home game consoles, the Xbox 360, still has a functional store.


Update 1: PlayStation Store will continue operating on PS3 and PS Vita

Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s President & CEO, apologized to consumers in a blog post earlier today, stating that the company “made the wrong decision” when it had announced that the PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita will be shut down this summer. The reversal means that PS3 and PS Vita owners will be able to purchase digital games “for the foreseeable future”, though the shutdown of PSP commerce functionality will happen on July 2, 2021, as previously planned. This is welcome news for digital archivists, players who have a backlog of older games that they need to get through, and new players, and we hope Sony continues to make more pro-consumer moves in the future.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.