Sony Pulls Discovery Videos PlayStation Users Already Own, Sparking Concern Over Our Digital Future
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Sony Pulls Discovery Videos PlayStation Users Already Own, Sparking Concern Over Our Digital Future



Sony has signalled its intention to pull some PlayStation content even from those who bought it, sparking concern from customers.

In a brief notice on the PlayStation website, Sony said it planned to remove hundreds of Discovery films from users’ video libraries, preventing them from watching the content they’d paid money for. Sony explained the decision as being due to “content licensing arrangements with content providers”.

Here’s the statement in full:

As of 31 December 2023, due to our content licensing arrangements with content providers, you will no longer be able to watch any of your previously purchased Discovery content and the content will be removed from your video library.

We sincerely thank you for your continued support.

Thank you,

PlayStation Store

There follows a long list of affected video content, which includes over 1,000 seasons of shows, including Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, Tanked, MythBusters, and An Idiot Abroad.

The decision has sparked a backlash online, and fuelled concern around ownership of digital media. Video game preservation is a hot topic within the industry, but the issue of content removal from digital platforms is top of mind of movie and TV makers, too. Last month, Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro backed Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan in championing physical media amid controversial moves by streamers that have seen some films pulled from availability.

Redditor skatern8r said they would never lose the Discovery shows they had paid for. “I just received an email from PS about how the end of the year due to licensing arrangements I will no longer be able to watch any of my previously purchased Discovery content,” skatern8r said. “Is there a way I can save this content? I use PS4… But I have bought many seasons of shows such as Dual Survival that I do not wish to lose. I was actually under the impression since I owned it, I wouldnt ever lose it…”

There is currently no way to back up purchased PlayStation Store video content from a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5. They cannot be transferred to a disc by any means.

Here’s some more reaction:

Last year, Warner Bros. was criticised for pulling six HBO Max original movies from the prestige streaming service they were created for. Warner Bros also made the shocking decision last year to not release Batgirl either in theaters or on streaming, even after the Leslie Grace-starring DC film had completed filming. Animated movie Scoob! Holiday Haunt was also scrapped, with Warner Bros. taking tax write-downs on both.

The situation with the Discovery content is different, however, because it relates to individual films users have bought outright, rather than made available as part of a subscription. It’s also different from the typical case with delisted video games, which remain available to play and download to those who own them. In its statement, Sony does not offer a refund or apologise for the decision. IGN has asked Sony for comment.

Sony has form when it comes to pulling content PlayStation users already own. Last year, Sony removed purchased Studio Canal content from PlayStation users in Germany and Austria due to “evolving licensing agreements with its content providers,” leaving users unable to view purchased content in their library.

It’s worth noting that when Sony stopped selling TV shows and movies from the PlayStation Store in 2021, it said users would still be able to access existing purchases.

“At SIE, we strive to provide the best entertainment experience for PlayStation fans, and that means evolving our offerings as customer needs change,” Vanessa Lee, Head of Video Business, SIE, said at the time.

“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 behaviour, we have decided to no longer offer movie and TV purchases and rentals through PlayStation Store as of August 31, 2021.

“When this change takes effect, users can still access movie and TV content they have purchased through PlayStation Store for on-demand playback on their PS4, PS5 and mobile devices. We thank our fans for their continued support, and we look forward to further enhancing the entertainment experience on PlayStation.”

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].





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