A number of sources have been reporting this week that patches for PS3 games have started to disappear from the PS3’s store. This is thought to be part of Sony’s preparation for closing the store in July, but it’s a dangerous game to be playing. So far a number of games only exist in their pre-patched form, which means that they contain all the bugs that the developers fixed over the course of the support period each one saw. In some cases, the games will now be unplayable past a certain point. For all affected, it’s impossible to claim the trophies, and that’s a travesty.
At the time of writing, no official word has come from Sony. If one does come out, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a lie. The company will claim that an error caused these issues, but I don’t think that’s true. There’s a culture of simply throwing things away once you’re done with them in Japan. It’s the reason that most Silent Hill 2 and 3 files were unrecoverable, and the game’s needed new voiceover recording. I can see those behind the scenes looking at the store and cutting it down where they believe people won’t notice already. The thing is, we did notice.
Sony should only be doing this from July 2, when it said that the stores would close. Prior to that date, preservationists need to be able to get a copy of the latest version of each game for future generations to enjoy. We learn so much from looking back at history, particularly the art from history, and that’s what games are. Without the patches needed to make these games playable, Sony is effectively deleting them early. That’s not what was outlined, and it needs to be fixed.
Right now, Sony is on the wrong side of a very defined line. The real issue is that people have paid for many of the products that will disappear, and it’s not okay that they will no longer be available. I understand that chucking this stuff out might be part of standard practice for some, but for those who care, a backup should always be available. Even if it’s just one in a vault somewhere.