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The issue coincides with the release of the new Chrono Cross remaster for modern consoles. However, there is evidence that the problem extends to other older games too.
On social media, users have reported similar decades-old expiration dates preventing them from playing games such as Final Fantasy VI, Run Factory: Oceans and Unit 13. One Reddit user even claims their entire PS Vita library has been made inaccessible.
Sony Interactive Entertainment is yet to comment on the reports.
Kotaku suggests that the issue could be related to the “Unix epoch,” which is when engineers set arbitrary dates designated as the beginning of an operating system’s lifespan. It’s speculated that some bug be defaulting PlayStation game license expiration dates to the Unix epoch.
The reports yet again highlight the issue of game preservation in the digital world.
In March 2021, Sony announced plans to close the PlayStation Store on PS3, Vita and PSP. However, following a backlash from players, the company made a partial U-turn the following month, saying it would no longer close the PS3 or Vita stores but was still planning to shut the PSP store, which it did last July.
Earlier this week, former Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton said he wishes Sony had thrown more support behind the PlayStation Vita.
The handheld system launched in 2011 as the successor to the PSP and is thought to have sold less than 15 million units prior to its discontinuation in 2019.
In a new interview with Axios, Tretton namechecked Vita as one of several PlayStation technologies he felt had been “orphaned a little bit” by parent company Sony.