While Sony’s PlayStation 3 console launched back in 2006, its digital storefront is still available after Sony backtracked on a decision to close the PS3 and Vita stores in 2021. However, in October 2021, the company introduced an additional limitation for buying digital games on both the PS3 and PlayStation Vita.
Let’s see how it’s become harder to buy old PlayStation titles, and what options you still have for buying PS3 games online.
Sony Has Limited Purchasing Options for PS3 and Vita
In an email to users, Sony explained that as of October 27, 2021, you can no longer purchase digital content on the PS3 or PS Vita store using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal. This includes both adding a set amount of credit to your wallet for future purchases, as well as funding the cost of your purchase directly.
Sony said that it made this change “to enhance online payment security for all PS3 and PS Vita owners.” While aging infrastructure may be part of the reason, it’s also likely that the company wants to slowly wean PS3 and Vita users off the digital storefront. Keeping a service online for a shrinking number of users is costly.
Can You Still Buy Games on the PS3 and Vita Stores?
Yes; as of this writing, it’s still possible to buy digital games from the PlayStation Store on your PlayStation 3 or PS Vita. However, you cannot buy PS3 or Vita titles on a PS4 or PS5 console, or by using a web browser. Sony removed PS3 and Vita games from the web version of the PlayStation Store to focus the platform on current offerings.
Now, you can only buy PS3 or Vita games using the Store app on the respective console. To do so, you’ll need to open the PlayStation Store on your system and browse from there. You’ll also need to add credit to your account to fund the purchases, which we explain below.
And of course, you can still buy physical PS3 discs or Vita cartridges second-hand and enjoy games that way.
How to Buy Digital Games for PS3 and PS Vita on the PlayStation Store
You have two options for adding credit to buy digital games on the aging PS3 and PS Vita. You can either buy PlayStation Store gift cards or use a credit card. Either one lets you add credit to your wallet using a PS4, PS5, or the web. Then you can spend that credit on a PS3 or Vita.
If you have a credit card, you can add an amount from $5 to $60 directly. Otherwise, PS Store gift cards are available digitally from Amazon (with instant delivery), as well as in stores like Target and Walmart.
To top up your PS balance, visit the PlayStation Store on the web, then click your profile icon at the top-right and choose Payment Management. There, you’ll see a prompt to Add Funds using your credit card or a prepaid gift card. You can also add a new payment method if needed. Follow our guide to adding funds to your PlayStation account for complete details.
Once you add credit to your account here, it will appear anywhere you sign into the same PlayStation Network account—including your PS3 or Vita. Open the PlayStation Store app from either device’s home screen and browse as you normally would. When you find a game you want to buy, you’ll be able to check out using the balance you added on your other device.
So while it takes an extra step, it’s still easy to add credit to your PSN account and buy PS3 or Vita games. Just make sure you are signed into the same account on each device.
Don’t Forget About PlayStation Plus Premium for PS3 Titles
If you have a modern PlayStation console and want to play PS3 games, there’s another option. Sony revamped PlayStation Plus in June 2022 to offer three tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. The Premium tier includes access to a library of PS3 games, available via streaming on your PS4 or PS5.
This replaces the former PlayStation Now service, making it the best option for playing PS3 games on another system. While you’ll need a strong enough internet connection to stream games, it’s a more budget-conscious option for those who want to play many titles.
PS3 and Vita Games Are Still Available
While not as many people are looking to buy PS3 or Vita games as they were during that console generation, it’s good to be able to step back and access older titles on these systems. Even in the 2020s, the PS3 is worth keeping in your entertainment center if you haven’t caught up on all the greatest titles.
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