PlayStation Video is one of those services that’s been quietly chugging along for the last 11 years, offering paid video downloads on Sony platforms. Perhaps “quietly” is the operative word, however, as the service no longer seems quite as necessary as it once did.
With the best streaming services dominating every corner of the video market, Sony has decided to discontinue PlayStation Video later this year. If you want to buy anything through the store, you’d better do it soon.
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Information comes from Vanessa Lee, head of video business at Sony Interactive Entertainment. In a short, straightforward PlayStation Blog post, Lee explains the situation:
“We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles. With this shift in customer behavior, we have decided to no longer offer movie and TV purchases and rentals through PlayStation Store as of August 31.”
That seems to be the long and short of it. Viewers prefer subscription-based video services to buying digital movies and TV à la carte. The PS4 and PS5 support just about every streaming service under the sun, from Netflix and Hulu, to Disney Plus and HBO Max. Even when it comes to buying videos outright, Amazon and Vudu are bigger platforms, available on a variety of different devices. Even though PS Video is a perfectly good service, there’s not much reason to use it — and there hasn’t been for a few years.
The good news — as much as there’s good news in a longstanding service shutting down — is that PlayStation Video fans won’t lose access to anything they’ve bought over the years. Much like deprecated games and other software, viewers will still be able to download movies and TV that they’ve bought through the PS4 and PS5’s Library section. They can also play their content on mobile devices. (There is indeed a PlayStation Video app — another thing you might want to download and store sooner rather than later.)
PlayStation Video may seem like just another movie storefront now, but it’s important to remember that it served an important role back when it debuted. In 2010, the PS3 was just starting to offer video apps; it was much more common to watch DVDs and Blu-rays. Since not every app was available on every system, companies like Sony and Microsoft devised their own video download storefronts. PlayStation Video was one of the first methods that PS3 users had to watch new movies and TV shows on-demand, without ever leaving the house.
Back in the mid-2010s, there was also a push for PlayStation Originals content on PS Video, including a two-season adaptation of the Powers graphic novel. Not much ever came of it, but PlayStation Productions did go on to make the profoundly disappointing Ratchet & Clank movie. Currently, the studio is working on the Uncharted film, as well as TV series for The Last of Us, Twisted Metal and Sly Cooper. We’re not sure where all of these productions will air, but it won’t be PlayStation Video.