Updated: Jul 11, 2021
Update: PlayStation Store is no longer shutting down on PlayStation 3!
Earlier this year, Sony announced that PlayStation Store would be shutting down across PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable devices. This left us with a lot of unknowns! How would LittleBigPlanet players get DLC? Would PlayStation 3's servers be next? Is it all over? Below, we tried to answer these tough questions. However, Sony backtracked on April 19th and said that they would no longer be shutting down the stores for PS3 and PS Vita.
Sony confirmed via an announcement that they would be shutting down numerous programs and services across PlayStation consoles, including the PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP stores. They also closed a version of the store that would allow people to download games for these consoles via an Internet browser over the weekend of March 27th.
The PlayStation Store was planned to be closed for PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable on July 2nd, while Vita was scheduled to shut down on August 27th. IGN reported that an email from PlayStation about the subject revealed that they were intending to shift the focus of the online stores to PlayStation 4 and 5 in order to provide better customer service.
However, the good news is that the store will remain active on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles!
So, what does this mean for LittleBigPlanet? Cancerious, a notable modder in the LBP community, gave us some good insight on the subject. Given his inside knowledge on LBP, I thought it would be great to learn more from him about how downloadable content (DLC) works and what it has to do with the PlayStation Store shut down.
"When you buy LittleBigPlanet DLC, it gives you a digital license file called an edat" Cancerious explains. "The game then detects the license and allows you to access the content." Because of the PlayStation Store shutdown, players won't be able to purchase DLC licenses on their devices. This could make content inaccessible to users.
Cancerious describes a way around this. "Modding DLC was first done by swapping the in-game items to trick the game. So, if you're loading a hair piece from story mode, but you have it load DLC instead it would bypass the check. Then there's also modded decals, but that's just a model swap."
As another example, I often use modified sticker panel. This replaces the value of the material with that of a sticker called 'hand and sleeve sketch'. This allows me to make objects that are usable by people who don't own the PlayStation Move pack.
Does this mean that modding will become an even greater part of the game now that the PlayStation Store is closing on PS3 and Vita? Cancerious says we are already on that path. "Modding is already a huge part of the community." Due to popular controversy over modding, I asked him his opinion on it. "The only real downside to it is people not treating others fairly" he explains. Modding gives players access to DLC that others may have spent a lot of money on, and it's also possible to get rare DLC like the prize crown that is reserved for official contest winners.
There are also some other considerations, as players might be able to use modding abusively to do things that they aren't supposed to do, such as use create mode tools anywhere in the game. There are some benefits to this, such as being able to see how LBP's story mode levels were made, but I can understand why some players may be concerned about this ability.
However, Cancerious describes an optimistic future for modding. "Players can use mods to experience debug builds of the game. With mods, you can make whatever you dream of. It takes the limitless ability of LBP and just skyrockets it."
Finally, Cancerious suggests that mods may not be necessary to buy and use DLC on LittleBigPlanet titles on PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP. "The PlayStation Store shut down shouldn't have an impact on LBP since if you have a PS4 you can acquire the DLC from there and it'll allow you to download the DLC on PS3. Even though the stores will be shut down on those consoles, they will still allow you to download content you own the license to."
Indeed, Sony confirmed this in their announcement. PlayStation says, "Yes, you will still be able to purchase cross-buy content through PlayStation™Store on the web, PlayStation®App, or on PS4 and PS5 consoles and access both the PS4 version and the PS3/PS Vita/PSP versions."
If this workaround holds true, it's possible that you'll still be able to purchase DLC after a store shut down. Because of the possibilities of modding and the ability to download DLC you own after the PlayStation Store shutdown, it looks like we won't have too much to worry about with LittleBigPlanet just yet! The good news is that the stores won't be shutting down yet, so there isn't much of a need to go out and mod your DLC if you have some extra money to spend.
If you are interested in learning more about modding LittleBigPlanet, Cancerious is a Documenter on Dreamiverse, a Discord server dedicated to LBP data archival and modding resources. Check out their server to learn more about modding and to meet and chat about LittleBigPlanet!
If you'd like to celebrate the return of the servers (coming very soon!), sign up for LBP Reconnected, LBP's first major forum contest in several years!
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