On Monday, confirming earlier speculation, Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and PlayStation Portable (PSP) online stores will all cease operation later this year. PS3 and PSP stores will close on July 2, 2021 and the Vita’s store will close on August 27, 2021.
In an email send to PlayStation Network members, the company explained that the closure is happening “in an effort to focus our resources for PlayStation Store on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, which will enable us to enhance the customer experience even further. We thank you for your support on these platforms throughout the years.”
Like the Nintendo Wii online store in 2019, Sony’s announcement is less a shock and more a spur, reminding players that the best way to play hundreds of rare PS1 and PS2 games cheap is to download them on the PS3 or PS Vita store. Players can still pick up classics like Resident Evil 2, Silent Hill, Legends of Dragoon and other PS1 classics for $5.99 a piece digital while their disc counterparts go for 20 times as much on the secondhand market.
The PS Vita store hurts the most, as the portable system was the de facto king of indie or classic PS1 games before the Nintendo Switch put the humble Sony handheld into a premature grave. Because of the small, high-definition screen, games like Parasite Eve or Suikoden 2 for the PS1 which border on unplayable on large televisions came in crisp and refined on the Vita’s compact OLED screen.
The unfortunate reality of removing the official PlayStation Store from Vitas and PS3s is that piracy will quickly become king for the long-cracked systems. The Vita especially has become the host of choice for emulators, while PS3 games are incredibly easy to pirate and play on original hardware.