There’s a saying in Hollywood: trends come and go, but classics are forever. Birds of Prey, The Kissing Booth, and Iron Man 3 may gradually fade into the mists of obscurity, but Gone With The Wind will always have a place in our hearts, no matter how long it’s been since it was first released. Unfortunately, the same maxim doesn’t quite hold up in the ever-changing and less unwavering world of video games. The PlayStation 3, in particular, heralded a Golden Age of never-before-seen console titles. Many PS3 games capitalized on narrative depth over repetitive gameplay, lifelike motion capture over traditional animation, and cinematic quality features over blocky graphics.
And now that era is about to come to an end. Sony will be discontinuing online support for the Playstation 3 and PS3 games starting July 2nd. This means players can no longer purchase games from the PlayStation store. Sony already announced terminating production for the PS3 a few years ago, so it’s only a matter of time before physical copies are removed from stores as well.
It really is the end of a classic era. PS3 games gave us such classics as Uncharted, The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock, Dark Souls, Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and countless others. The PlayStation 2 is iconic, but the PS3 revolutionized gaming and set a precedent for every other console to follow, including its own.
The PlayStation 3 and PS3 games aren’t the only ones destined for the guillotine. Players will no longer be able to access the PlayStation Vita’s online store starting August 27th. PlayStation Portable functionality will also cease by July 2nd. This announcement effectively puts an end to all digital content, in-game purchases, video services, and wallet fund vouchers included, for the PS3, PS Vita, and PSP.
On the bright side, players can still re-download and keep PS3 games they’ve already purchased, including those accessed through PlayStation Plus. PlayStation Plus is a PS4 novelty so subscriptions remain unaffected, hence players can still redeem vouchers and use the system accordingly — as long as they’re accessed exclusively through the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. If you still have outstanding wallet balances on your PS3, Vita, and PSP accounts, better spend them while you still can. After July 2nd and August 27th, you’ll only be able to use them for PS4 and PS5 purchases. As for PS3 and Vita avatars, themes, and web/mobile content, these have already been phased out last year, on October 19th. This memo was emailed to all PlayStation customers and posted on the company’s official blog.
The company writes, “After thoughtful consideration, we decided to make these changes 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.”
Technical improvements aside, the PlayStation 3 was a success story in the making. Players praised the gameplay and graphics upgrades of PS3 games, but criticized the standing price, forcing Sony to drop the amount by at least $100. The console also experienced a rough start, and was behind the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii in 2006 by 400,000 units. But the PS3 caught up after 5 years of relatively anemic sales and ended up being the second-most purchased console of its generation, second only to the Nintendo Wii. It enjoyed three redesigns, and has sold over 87 million units in its lifetime.
The PS3 and PS Vita were instrumental in keeping many older PlayStation classics alive, so the end of one era basically signals the death of another. Better load up on your favorite PS3 games while the feature still stands. Newer Sony consoles don’t offer backward compatibility, but with the loss of the older generation potentially spelling a significant decrease in sales, here’s to hoping that changes very soon.