Sony has invented a new form of digital sabotage, which would almost be impressive if it weren’t so irritating. According to a post in the “Important Notices” section of Sony support, the brilliant business minds at the Japanese giant have decided to discontinue credit card and Paypal payment for both the PS3 and the PS Vita on October 27th, 2021. As an avid Vita stan, I am scandalized.
To actually buy video games on your video game device, you will need to go to a secondary location and purchase a physical gift card, which you can then use to purchase video games. Alternatively you can use the awkward wallet system to add funds via Sony’s website, or by adding funds on your PS4 or PS5, and then spending them on the PS3 or Vita. Either way, this is extremely silly.
The PS Vita was born to die, and deserved better. From the outside, it can often feel like Sony expected the Vita to print money on its own, and when the console couldn’t live up to this impossible standard, Sony didn’t want to put the investment in to support it. The independent scene, however, rallied around the system, while it also became the best place to play PS1 games, thanks to its portability and great emulation features. The PS Vita is a good little guy, and he deserves your respect.
He also deserves better than what Sony has been giving him. The PS Vita and PS3 have been subjected to very long deaths as Sony strips away their infrastructure piece by piece. The company was successfully bullied out of shutting down the stores altogether, but this death by a thousand cuts isn’t much better.
Sony’s complete lack of interest in games preservation, and for keeping games accessible to the people who bought the systems they run on, is deeply infuriating. The games industry has a short memory, made shorter by a constant focus on developing tech, and even shorter again by publishers with no interest in keeping their systems running. I’ve written before about the importance of libraries in game preservation, and I will take Sony’s fuckery as an opportunity to get on my soapbox again.
Go to your local library. If you haven’t been there in a while, you may be surprised to find that they have video games there. These games are free to rent, and they’ll often have accompanying consoles. As corporations do less and less to maintain even their own histories, that onus will fall further on archivists and communities alike. Your local library makes the history of games accessible, and affordable to a whole new generation of people. Support them when you can.
And if you haven’t done so recently, check on Grandpa PS Vita, he misses you. He probably has some old PS1 or PSP games that’ll be way better than they have any right to be.