PlayStation Store to Stop Selling Movies, TV Shows

Posted on March 2, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in PlayStation, Music + Videos with 16 Comments

Citing a shift in customer behavior towards streaming video services, Sony said today that it will no longer sell movies and TV shows through its PlayStation Store.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles,” Sony’s Vanessa Lee writes. “With this shift in customer behavior, we have decided to no longer offer movie and TV purchases and rentals through PlayStation Store as of August 31, 2021.”

When this change occurs, previously-purchased movie and TV content will still be available to customers, Sony says, and can be accessed via PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles and mobile devices.

That last bit is interesting, and could provide a playbook for Microsoft to follow should it ever make a similar decision for its Movies & TV service, which is only available via Xbox consoles and PCs. I’ve long cautioned users not to purchase movie or TV content from Microsoft—rentals are obviously not an issue—because this isn’t exactly a core business for the software giant. And let’s face it, if Microsoft was serious about Movies & TV, it would be available on smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, and smart TVs.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “PlayStation Store to Stop Selling Movies, TV Shows”

  1. webdev511

    Only way to be sure of having purchased media stay purchased is to own a physical copy.

    • winbookxl2

      In reply to webdev511: True, so far iTunes and Movies Anywhere have been the most reliable. What I like about iTunes is that they upgrade your movies or series to the best available quality. Alot of my content was remastered in HD or 4K.

  2. jlariviere

    i bought a couple movies from Sony for on my PSP...

  3. markbyrn

    Won't be surprised in the least if Microsoft soon follows suit. It's been years since I bought a TV show or movie from Microsoft and won't do so again unless they add apps for watching on other platforms.

  4. ndragonawa

    So I buy movies from Microsoft Movies & TV, provided that the movie is a Movies Anywhere title.

    Buy it on Xbox, watch it anywhere else.

    • Paul Thurrott

      It's too bad you have to do that work. I get why certain studios don't want to be part of Movies Anywhere, I guess. But full compatibility would be amazing, and I don't really see how this hurts studios. It makes purchases more likely because they're less risky.
    • yoshi

      In reply to Ndragonawa:

      Movies Anywhere works by linking all your accounts. If Microsoft no longer holds the license to the movies you purchased, or if they drop out of Movies Anywhere(like they did temporarily in the past), then you no longer have access to those movies. I'm with Paul, it's not a good idea to purchase movies/shows from Microsoft.

      • ndragonawa

        In reply to yoshi:

        I'm not sure if that is true, considering that currently disconnecting an account from Movies Anywhere keeps the movies added in the catalog from that account available to the other partners.

  5. Calibr21

    I’m surprised at dropping movie rentals, I figured PlayStation would be popular for that. What devices do people used to rent movies on? I use my Apple TV, but I know it doesn’t have much market share due to its price. Does roku offer rentals?

    • Paul Thurrott

      The number of living room set-top boxes out in the world has to be about 100x that of video game consoles.
    • dftf

      In reply to Calibr21:

      Depending how-often you are doing a rental, something like 2-3 might come-to the same-cost as doing a monthly sub to a service anyway...

  6. mestiphal

    I have like 10 or so movies in the Micrsoft / Google movies section, but they were all like connect Disney to this service, get a free movie, connect this other service get a free movie. so all those movies are free

    But all of my really big collection is on Plex, and it will be there, safe just as long as no hard drives die.

  7. mikegalos

    So when Sony drops a service the response is that the biggest paragraph of the story is an attack on Microsoft because, they might, at some point in the future, do what Sony did that did not get an editorial slam?

    • Paul Thurrott

      No, the last paragraph brings this story home to Microsoft users, who have reasonably been wondering for years when, not if, Microsoft kills Movies & TV. It's not a slam, it's inevitable. At least Sony is handling it right. I hope MSFT will as well.
  8. angusmatheson

    The problem with streaming services, is what If you love a particular movie or TV series - are you going to have to pay for that service forever to have access to it? And the problem with buying digitally is that how long with the service you bought it on be around? Although everything I bought on physical VHS is useless too - haven’t had a working VHS machine for years.

    • dftf

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      With streaming-services, the only real major issue is how many of them there is: they might all be "only £9.99 a month" or something, but when there is something like 15 of them... it all adds-up. But if you use one, and it dies, you move to the next-best one to suit you.

      But for digital purchases I'd steer-clear, as then if the service you bought it from does die, so does your copy of whatever it was. If you can buy a DRM-free item which you can save to your own device locally, and backup, such as DRM-free MP3 or FLAC song or album downloads from Amazon, or video-games from Good Old Games .com, then sure. But a TV show, film or album that you can only access via an app or website, no thanks

    • melektaus

      In reply to Angusmatheson: Guess that depends on how big a fan you are. If you are a huge fan, you likely willing/able to spend a lot of money on the property anyway so can't see how this is an issue.
      If you are *not* a huge fan, just subscribe for a month and then unsubscribe. If you've been able to watch a whole season of TV for less than a current months subscription of a streaming service in the past, well, good on you.
      IMHO, unless you are really in it just to *collect* (and there is nothing wrong with that at all) it's a mugs game to BUY movies and TV. Rent/stream is the way to go and is surely cheaper than other options.

    • rsfarris

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      You can at least still find a VHS player though, so even that's better.