Sony Ends Support For Playstation Store For PSP, PS3, and Vita
from the preservation-mode dept
A few days ago, we discussed the problem of video game preservation as a matter of art when developers, publishers, or platforms shut down certain services. The point of the post was fairly wide-reaching, with the focus being on the idea that game developers in the PC space should embrace the habit of releasing their source codes for games and let the gamer ecosystem take over. While that’s an idea I find extremely interesting, it doesn’t really apply to the console gaming space. And it was rumors of the shutdown of certain Sony PlayStation stores that kickstarted the whole conversation.
Well, that rumored shutdown is now reality. And it’s roughly half as bad for the purposes of game preservation as was expected.
Today, Sony updated the important notice section of its official site with information about the upcoming shutdowns. While the stores will be closed later in the year, Sony explained that players will still be able to redownload content that they own after the shutdown date. Folks will also still be able to redeem PS Plus and game vouchers, though wallet vouchers will no longer work on these stores after they close.
So, that’s the top line summary of what’s changing, with the headline being that people will still be able to re-download games that they had previously purchased. That’s obviously a good thing. But where we dive right back into the preservation question is here.
You will no longer be able to purchase PS3, PS Vita, and PSP digital content, including games and video content.
You will no longer be able to make in-game purchases through games on PS3, PS Vita, and PSP.
So new purchases are not available for games. Whether said games will be made available anywhere else is an open question. As is the question of in-app purchases or DLC. Given that those are going away, the next question is what is being done to preserve the games and their source codes? No answers currently exist. And, if you believe that video games are a form of art and culture, that’s very much a problem.
Put yourself in the shoes of a preservationist or museum for video games. What in the world happens to this culture from here? Where does the DLC go, given that it’s very much a part of the art of the game? Where does the source code go? How will someone 25 years from now be able to experience this art in the same way you can walk into an art museum and see an exhibit.
As of today, the answer to most of those questions most of the time is ¯_(?)_/¯. But that can’t be the answer and it’s probably time that either the industry or, if the industry fails to take this seriously, the government take a good long look at carving out some exceptions or requirements to make sure all this culture doesn’t end up memory-holed.