On July 2, the PlayStation store will close on PS3 and PSP consoles. On August 27, the PS Vita store will follow suit. The collective impact of this closure will be the loss of over 2200 digital games — 138 of which will disappear completely. While many legacy games have been given ports and remasters, or are available on other consoles, there are many which will never be playable again unless users purchase them before they vanish.
A new report from VGC has outlined the sad impact of these closures and identified which games are set to vanish over the next few months. Heavy hitters on the list including classic PSP hits like Ape Quest and LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival, but the most disappointing loss outlined is inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood on PS3.
This digital-only DLC is a non-canon chapter in the excellent inFAMOUS series, but it’s also a great standalone adventure. If you’ve ever wanted to storm the streets of New Orleans as a fledgling electricity-powered vampire, this is the game for you. But you’ll need to grab it before the legacy PlayStation Stores close. After July 2, there’ll be no way to purchase the game at all.
While everyone who currently owns games on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita stores will be able to re-download their library at any time, no new purchases can be made. It’s not just a big deal for gamers, it’s also a massive deal for video game preservation. While global foundations exist to preserve the histories of arts like film, TV and music, video game preservation has been notoriously lax — to the point where even modern games like Kingdom Hearts no longer exist in their original form.
The argument about video games being art will likely continue for decades to come, but there’s no denying the hard work, passion and talent that goes into the creation of games. Often they represent years of labour being poured into a project — and they can serve as important cultural touchstones. All art is representative of the history, politics and stories of the era when it was created, and it’s devastating to think these artefacts will soon be lost.
Yes, they’re “just” video games, but they all play an important part in representing an era. 138 games disappearing is a drop in the ocean of gaming history, but that doesn’t mean their loss isn’t meaningful. The closure of the PS3, PS Vita and PSP PlayStation Stores is a sad reminder that the digital games we buy only have a very short shelf life, and that losing the history of games is as simple as turning off a tap.
If you have your eye on any of the games detailed in the VGC report, it’s a good idea to jump onto the legacy PlayStation stores over the next few weeks and grab everything you think you’ll miss. Once the stores close, you won’t have the chance to buy any of those digital-only games again.