March used to be one of the most popular months of the year to release new games and stores were really busy as a result. However, in March 2021 the PlayStation Store hit the headlines for the wrong reason as Sony threatened to close down the PS3, PSP and PS Vita stores for good. It was just one of the more controversial stories to emerge from the PlayStation camp too.
Sony Announces the Closure of the PSP, PS3 and PS Vita Stores
The PlayStation 5 console may well have been out for three months at this point, but that didn’t mean players had forgotten about some of Sony’s older machines. When Sony announced they were closing the PlayStation 3 and PSP stores in July with the PlayStation Vita store to follow in August, there was an uproar. The news was made worse when it turned out several Vita developers hadn’t been told of the closure and several unfinished projects were canceled as theywould be unable to meet the deadline to submit them for release.
Just a few weeks after the announcement, Sony backtracked on their announcement. The PS3 and Vita stores were handed a reprieve and would stay open, although the writing remained on the wall for the PSP store; this eventually closed on July 2 as planned. However, Sony then stopped Paypal and credit/debit cards working on the PS3 and Vita stores so only PlayStation wallet funds could be used to purchase games there. They also confirmed no Vita games would be considered for release beyond July 6 so new releases for the platform slowly drew to a halt. Sony is certainly trying their hardest to prove the rumors of killing off the Vita are true.
CMOS Battery Issue Prevented Games Being Played on the PS4 Consoles
Modders raised concerns over an issue they had noticed on the PlayStation 4 console. When its internal CMOS battery died, players were no longer able to play digital or disc games because of the way the console’s trophy system worked. The issue was later found to affect PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 3 consoles too, although these were able to play some games once the battery failed. Players were understandably alarmed as nobody wants to pay out for something that will effectively become a brick in later years.
Sony responded to the outcry by confirming they were working on a solution. Sure enough, the problem was solved with an update to the PS4 console in September, while a solution followed on PS5 in October. Now owners of those consoles will be able to play both digital and disc games well into the future, even if the PlayStation Network service ends.
Xbox Head Phil Spencer Confirmed Some Bethesda Games Would be Xbox Exclusive
When Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda and several development studios, many players were concerned for the future of their favorite IPs on PlayStation. Would we see future Fallout games on PS5? What about The Elder Scrolls VI? Well, Xbox head Phil Spencer did confirm that while some of Bethesda’s games would be exclusive moving forward, that exclusivity would be determined on a case-by-case basis. This included honoring existing exclusivitiy deals with PlayStation for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, as well as continuing to support existing games.
If this felt like a relief at the time, it wasn’t to last. Microsoft announced that Starfield would be Xbox exclusive while at E3, where they also announced Arkane Studio was working on the Xbox exclusive Redfall. Later on in the year, Spencer also more-or-less confirmed The Elder Scrolls VI would not be arriving on PlayStation consoles either despite previous assurances from Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard. The problem is that when Xbox Game Studios executive Matt Booty admits Microsoft has yet to compete with Sony on blockbuster franchises, they’re going to start somewhere.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake Trophy List Hinted at an Imminent Release
When a trophy list appears on the internet, it usually suggests a game is nearing release. The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake trophy list took people by surprise when it appeared in March, but an imminent release is certainly not what happened next. Originally due to be released in January, the game’s first delay saw it pushed back to March before another delay saw it moved to an unspecified release date. That release window currently sits at some point during the 2023 fiscal year (between April 2022 and March 2023).
Ubisoft India reassured players development was still underway but things don’t sound terribly encouraging. Recent reports suggest a lot of developers have left Ubisoft studios because of various reasons, such as the continuous misconduct scandals, conflict over the company’s creative direction, low pay, and better opportunities elsewhere. This has resulted in slowed down and stalled projects, something that Prince of Persia seems to be right now.
Our Favorite March 2021 Anecdote
Doors are difficult. At least that’s what most game developers will tell you. They can be locked obstacles, they can provide cover, they can be destructable, and they can help or hinder players when they’re exploring areas. Most importantly, according to The Last of Us Part II co-director Kurt Margenau they’re impossible to get to work properly when players are in frantic situations where they need to escape quickly. Opening them is easy, but closing them? Not so much. The result is a lot of doors in games have some sort of automated motion where they will close on their own without player input. Naughty Dog even ended up creating a new physics object for them.
PSLS Game of March 2021: It Takes Two
It Takes Two is endlessly creative. Gameplay speaks to narrative, while narrative informs gameplay, and the entire experience just feels incredibly polished and detailed. It nails relationships in ways that so many games—and even other forms of media—just can’t. It asks the player to engage with the the story through mandatory co-op to tell the tale of a couple on the verge of divorce, rediscovering the good in their relationship. It’s not just one of the best action platformers in recent memory, but also a fantastic and unique story representing a dynamic that you don’t often see represented in games, at least not to this depth and nuance.
The post 2021 Year in Review: The PS3, Vita and PSP Stores are Closing… or are They? appeared first on PlayStation LifeStyle.