PlayStation Store Shutting Down for Vita, PS3, PSP

Sony confirmed rumors today that they are shutting down the PlayStation Store for new purchases on three platforms this year. The PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable will all lose the ability to purchase new games and DLC digitally, but can still redownload previously purchased items. This was confirmed via an e-mail to users and an “important notice” posted to Sony’s PlayStation support documentation website:

We are closing PlayStation™Store on PlayStation®3 consoles on July 2nd, 2021 and on PlayStation®Vita devices on August 27th 2021. Additionally, the remaining purchase functionality for PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) will also retire on July 2nd, 2021. 

Many more questions were answered by that notice like what will happen to funds added to accounts of users who aren’t planning on migrating to the PlayStation 4 or 5 (they can be refunded) but it’s pretty clear now that the digital purchases made on stores like these are extremely ephemeral. Microsoft is hailed for their back-catalog support but they retire Forza Horizon games after a few years and make them unavailable for purchase. Nintendo’s e-shop for the Wii shut down in 2019 and they also shut off re-downloads of purchased games for that platform.

Making games available for digital purchase should mean that they are available in perpetuity, but it’s clear that the businesses selling games don’t expect to do so, leaving game preservation in the hands of people outside of those companies who are constantly threatened with legal action. Nintendo still doesn’t regard emulation as legal despite boasting about their in-house emulation capabilities and selling boxes that use emulation as does Sony with their PlayStation Classic, most likely Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are the primary reason that emulators aren’t allowed on most app stores.

Fortunately for today’s subjects, while PlayStation Vita emulation is still early, PlayStation 3 emulation has improved a great deal with RPCS3 and PPSSPP handles PSP games well. It’ll be up to people who pirate game software to continue to distribute games that weren’t available on discs and patches for game software will probably be hard to come by.

Sony Giving Away Eight PlayStation 4 Games

Sony is giving away eight PlayStation 4 games as part of their Play at Home marketing campaign during the pandemic to encourage people to stay home instead of going out. Click this link for the games on the US PlayStation store. There’s Subnautica, Enter the Dungeon, Abzu, The Witness, Rez Infinite, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Moss, Thumper, and Paper Beast. All of these can be downloaded until 8PM Pacific Daylight Time on the 22nd of April.

Ratchet & Clank is also left over from last year’s campaign and available for free until the end of March. Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition will be available for free from April 19th to May 14th.

These games don’t require a PlayStation Plus subscription to download for free, and more are supposed to be added in the next months.

PlayStation Network to Finally Allow Name Changes

If it hasn’t been hijacked yet, PSN is finally going to allow you to change your username. Sid Shuman says it’ll be free the first time, and $10 or $5 (for PlayStation Plus subscribers) after that, and the feature has some odd limitations:

When you change your online ID, you will have the option to display your previous ID with your new ID, so your friends can recognize you. Once you decide to display your old ID or not, you won’t be able to adjust this after completing the online ID change process.

The name-changing feature will be in a temporary “preview program”  in November for people who have registered to test pre-release versions of the PlayStation 4 system software, and it may break some recent games:

This feature is compatible with PS4 games originally published after April 1, 2018, and a large majority of the most-played PS4 games that were released before this date. However, please note not all games and applications for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita systems are guaranteed to support the online ID change, and users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games. If for any reason you experience issues after changing your ID, you can revert back to your original ID for free at any time (you will only be able to revert once during the preview program). Reverting back to an old ID will resolve most issues caused by the ID change. In addition, when this feature officially launches, a list of compatible games published before April 1, 2018, will be provided on PlayStation.com for reference before you make a change.

Yikes.

It sounds like some games may just be broken for anyone who wants to play them after changing their name. I hope that Sony has a better workaround than “pay us to change back so you can play old games” before the name-changing feature ships to everyone early next year.

PlayStation E3 2018 Showcase Notes

We’re onto Sony’s E3 2018 event, it’s the PlayStation Showcase. Somewhere in a parallel universe there’s a bunch of executives watching a video stream of a writer in Honolulu and writing down what he’s talking about.

Continue reading “PlayStation E3 2018 Showcase Notes”

It’s 2017 and Windjammers is Available Again

Speaking of games that have left a void and been inexpertly filled by well-intentioned developers. The Neo Geo classic disc tossing game that’s basically pong if it involved a gruff euro beach 90’s future aesthetic,  Windjammers, has been riffed on so many times. It’s actually been thrilling to see who gets the closest to surpassing the original game because it was so difficult to get a hold on many Neo Geo games legitimately.

Those days are over, as long as you have a PlayStation 4 or (surprisingly) a PlayStation Vita. DotEmu has brought the original game back out on these Sony platforms for $15, with some pretty big updates to multiplayer and leaderboards that go beyond your typical ROM-in-an-emulator package but don’t seem to change the art or gameplay. Buying one version also nets you the other with Sony’s cross-buy promotion.