As the death march toward the closure of the legacy PlayStation Store carries on, we’re seeing some new trends and long-forgotten complications to be aware of. TL;DR Buy, Download, and Update everything you can now. Don’t wait until the end of June to get started.
There are a growing number of reports of PlayStation 1 and 2 titles being delisted as early as April 2nd following Sony’s closure announcement. This has mostly affected European territories so far but there’s no telling if the same will happen across North American or Asian regions in the months to come. Twitter user Tweet Vita Reviews has compiled a pretty comprehensive list of what disappeared since the beginning of April on the EU store.
UPDATE: MaxieM0us3 pointed out a wild situation around the version of Sly 3 included in The Sly Cooper Collection on Vita. “While it’s available on both physical and digital, only [Sly 1 and 2] are on the physical game card. ‘Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves’ has been given via voucher codes inside every physical box.
But here’s the catch, from my observations on eBay listings, they all have been expired. The codes expired on May 27, 2016 for NA, and on the May 31, 2020 for EU. Basically, it means that the sole means to get and play Sly 3 [on Vita] today is to buy the Sly Collection for Vita on the PS Store before the store closes. Otherwise, they’ll be forever stuck with Sly 1 and 2 only.
UPDATE: Another friend of the site spent some time extracting archived PlayStation Store content and update listings into a series of text documents. Some titles that were never archived won’t be in these lists so it isn’t 100% accurate down to the smallest release, but it’s close. Of particular note is the PS3 Update History doc which is the next best alternative to the previous Google Sheet that has gone offline (strikethrough below).
- PlayStation 3 Content
- PlayStation 3 Updates & Patches History
- PSP & PS minis Content
- PlayStation Mobile Content
- PlayStation Vita Content
It’s possible this is a temporary glitch or downtime for an array of servers, but the proximity to the store closure has a lot of folks rightfully concerned. As early as March PSNProfiles forum users have been questioning the availability of patches and updates for disc-based PlayStation 3 titles. For some games this is the worst case scenario as updates were required to fix critical bugs or enable the game’s full content. There is a sprawling thread on PSNProfiles dedicated to checking discs in different regions for updates but you’ll have to dig through the growing number of replies for the latest info. (UPDATE: Original Sheet is no longer online, try this one for PS3 Updates & Patches)
You can also check this immense Google Sheets document for the latest version of each game pulled from Sony’s CDN. Be warned, it’s tough to navigate. Use Ctrl+F to search for titles and if you see a version number greater than 1.0 that means there’s an update to download.
UPDATE: TheChrisGlass pointed out another complication in the form of dedicated patch servers. “Both Motorstorm 1 and Resistance 1 patched using their own servers which are now down. So Motorstorm 1 has DLC up for purchase, but if you don’t have the patched version now, you’re SOL from using it”. WindyCornerTV added another example, “Gran Turismo 5 Prologue was another game that downloaded patches in the game itself. The servers are no longer available, but there was a disc release of Prologue 5 Spec 3 in Japan”.
DRM & Online-only Titles
I only found a pair of titles with always-on DRM from back in the day when Capcom was stomping their feet over alleged “rampant ‘PSN Sharing'”. Bionic Commando ReArmed 2 and Final Fight: Double Impact are the ones to watch out for. Both games require an active connection to the PlayStation Network from the account they were purchased by. This DRM requirement puts them in an extra precarious position as the years go by and the PlayStation Network inches closer to a full shutdown. Fortunately, both are available on other platforms and in other arcade bundles.
One title I own that I wanted to check was Portal 2. The PlayStation 3 version included actual Steam integration and I wondered if that connection would block me from playing the game 10 years later. Fortunately, I was able to launch and update the game. The news feed is even still connected with updates from March of 2021 that have absolutely nothing to do with the PlayStation 3. The Steam account login is broken (it spins indefinitely trying to connect) but the game’s story mode is playable from start to finish.
As for online-only, MMO-style titles, and multiplayer-focused games, this is just a reminder that if they haven’t shut down on PlayStation 3 already, they probably will soon. Check the support or social accounts for any games you’re still playing to see if they have announced plans to shut down.
Now that we’re all back online and banging around the PlayStation Store as quickly as possible, it seems some of our PS3s aren’t as resilient as they used to be. Even before the news was official I had heard from several folks on Twitter that searching the store or attempting to buy games was causing their system to crash back to the XMB or reboot entirely. It’s just another reminder to try out your own hardware sooner rather than later.
Export, Backup, and Save
Now you’ve got a Vita or PSP full of updated games and DLC, but what if you want more? Worse still, what if your internal memory dies in a couple of years? The handhelds are actually pretty easy to back up to a connected PC, if a little time consuming. Friend of the site @Steeltekki has a great recent thread on this and more backup tips. On PlayStation 3 you can export game saves, screenshots, images, videos, and music files to USB but there’s no easy, legal way to copy the games themselves.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air since Sony sprang all of this on us just two weeks ago and didn’t answer all of our questions directly. Things are very fluid, as they say. Let us know in the comments of any other games you’ve seen go missing or complications you’ve run into buying and downloading your games. I’ll update this post as more news comes to light. Thanks to SrirachaIsGreat, TweetVitaReview, BowzasaurusRex, and everyone else who has pointed out stuff so far.