Sony is allegedly closing its PS3, PlayStation Portable, and PS Vita stores permanently this winter. Speaking to The Gamer, an anonymous source told the publication the PS3 and PSP stores will cease operations on July 2, while the Vita store will close on August 27. No one will be able to purchase games and DLCs from those digital storefronts after those dates.
According to the source, Sony will make a formal announcement by the end of this month. Gizmodo reached out to Sony for comment but has yet to receive a response.
Sony’s PS5 is only backwards compatible with PS4 titles, which includes more than 4,000 games. While PS3 games are not compatible with the PS5, they are with the PS4. Many PS3 games were re-mastered and re-released on the PS4, and so were some PS2 games like Grand Theft Auto 3, but only a PS4 version of a game will work on the PS5. PS3 Blu-ray discs and PS3 store purchases are not compatible with the PS5.
This means anyone who owns a PS4 or a PS3, has a limited time to get all the older games they want but haven’t been able to yet. Of course there will be opportunities to pick up physical games after the store closures, but it’s possible the prices of those games will go up even further once the digital editions are no longer available.
The closures are not great from a game preservation perspective either, but there are many independent groups and organisations dedicated to finding and preserving older games for the sake of history. One group, The Hidden Palace, recently released over 700 PS2 game prototypes and unreleased demos, which included pre-release builds of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Crazy Taxi, and Final Fantasy X-2, and other demos created for preview coverage that never existed outside of E3.