Sony Is Killing Entire Purchased Digital Libraries, Start Buying Physical Media Again

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Funimation, a streaming service specializing in anime, recently announced that digital libraries held by subscribers on its platform would become inaccessible after April 2. The news comes as parent company Sony decided to merge Funimation with its recently acquired rival, Crunchyroll. The move has left many subscribers wondering about the fate of their digital collections.

Closing Funimation App And Website

The merger involves closing the Sony-owned Funimation app and website, with existing Funimation accounts transitioning into Crunchyroll accounts. While Funimation claims that most of its catalog is already available on Crunchyroll, subscribers are still uncertain about what will happen to their digital copies that were linked to physical purchases.

Back in the day, Funimation extended its offering beyond streaming to include the dubbing and release of anime on physical media. These copies had digital codes for online access, a convenient way for people to preserve their favorite shows and movies without needing physical versions. It also made it easy to enjoy purchased content remotely.

Crunchyroll Doesn’t Support Funimation Digital

But Sony’s newly acquired Crunchyroll does not currently support Funimation Digital copies, leaving subscribers unable to access their digital content. It also poses a problem for those who may have discarded their physical copies or lack the means to play DVDs and Blu-rays. While users asking about refunds are directed to a support team, how they will be compensated for the loss remains to be seen.

No Refund Coming?

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Unfortunately, subscribers may not receive any refund, as Funimation’s support page mentions preexisting restrictions on digital copies outlined in the Terms of Use. These terms grant Funimation the authority to suspend or terminate service availability without notice, emphasizing that users never genuinely own their digital copies.

This incident echoes a similar scenario involving Sony’s PlayStation, where customers who purchased Discovery content faced the threat of losing access due to evolving content licensing arrangements. However, 10 days before the content was lost, PlayStation reversed its decision, stating that content removal would no longer occur due to “updated licensing arrangements.”

Risk In Relying On Streaming

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The content migration by Sony serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with relying solely on streaming services for permanent access to purchased content.

Streaming platforms often remove content users have already paid for, while mergers and consolidations can further disrupt long-time subscriber experiences.

Physical media ensures actual ownership, offering a tangible and permanent asset with reliable, uninterrupted access to your favorite shows and movies. With no reliance on internet connectivity, physical media allows for an independent viewing experience, which is particularly important in areas with limited or unreliable internet access.

Better For Collectors


Collectors can also benefit from physical media’s preservation aspect, showcasing a curated collection that remains constant and immune to changes in service agreements, as experienced with Sony and PlayStation.

The one-time purchase nature of physical media proves cost-effective, avoiding recurring subscription fees associated with streaming services.

Avoid Uncertanties


Moreover, physical media avoids the uncertainties of licensing disputes or changes in service agreements, ensuring a future-proofed collection compatible with various devices.

The potential resale value of physical media adds another dimension, allowing users to recoup some of their investment or pass on their collection.

Source: arstechnica