Digital PlayStation 3 purchases can only last as long as your PRAM battery without Sony servers

The news that Sony shut down the PlayStation Store servers for PS3 this summer spread like wildfire across the internet on Monday. The speech in the comment sections was filled with anti-DRM rhetoric and renewed promises of physical-only game collections, because with no content servers to connect to, your PS3 digital purchases will eventually be unplayable. Even if legitimate purchases are installed on the console’s hard drive before Sony “flips the switch,” they may only continue to function as long as the internal clock remains in sync. That’s why this guide to replacing a PS3 PRAM battery written by [Andrew] it has renewed its importance. After a battery replacement, the internal clock needs to be reset and this requires validation from the PlayStation network (you know, the one that will be shutting down soon).

Group of game preservationists [Does it play?] drove home the impact of such a Sony business decision on Twitter. The thread is quick to point out that even if users quickly redownload all of their purchases to a PS3 system before the supposed July 2 deadline, those games will eventually be unplayable if the system clock gets out of sync. Replacing the PRAM battery and reconnecting to the PlayStation Network before Sony shuts down its servers should give the user more game time. However, with no further changes to Sony’s licensing policy, little else can be physically done to ensure that those digital PS3 games will run in perpetuity.

Sony isn’t the only one that has drawn the ire of digital rights advocates regarding the termination of its online services. Nintendo closed the DSI-Shop in 2017 and Microsoft disabled access to the original Xbox LIVE servers in 2010. The big three console makers have let their consumers down by eliminating the ability to buy back purchases in some way, but the fact that so many Las PS3 exclusives were only available digitally, further compounding digital rights issues. Dropping a new coin cell may not be the permanent solution everyone is looking for right now, but it wouldn’t hurt to get familiar with the Cell processor.

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