PlayStation Purge: Digital Content Vanishes, Leaving Players Empty-Handed

Players who have paid for content on PS will soon not be able to watch that content

by Sededin Dedovic
PlayStation Purge: Digital Content Vanishes, Leaving Players Empty-Handed
© Cate Gillon / Getty Images

PlayStation gamers woke up to a surprise this week: due to a "content licensing agreement," all Discovery content will be removed from their libraries starting December 31st. This means that even if you've paid your hard-earned money for Discovery shows or movies on the PlayStation Store, you won't be able to watch them anymore.

This decision, made without explanation or even an apology, deletes hundreds of titles from the store and personal libraries, leaving many players confused and frustrated. PlayStation's only response is a lukewarm "thank you" for their "continued support", which sounds rather hollow in the circumstances.

This situation raises big questions about digital ownership in the age of streaming platforms and online shopping. Do we really own the digital content we pay for or are we just renting a license for an arbitrary period? In this case, obviously, ownership was an illusion and "possession" only temporary permission.

A completely digital future

Many gamers see this as another wake-up call about an "all-digital future". If we don't physically hold something in our hands, do we really own it? Can it be taken away from us at any time, without explanation or compensation, just because it's licensed content? Although PlayStation did not give a reason for the move, speculation is swirling around Discovery's merger with Warner Bros.

last year. Maybe licensing deals are being renegotiated and renewed, and Discovery content is the first casualty. Whatever the reason, this decision is a bad sign for anyone who consumes their media digitally. It reminds us that our "libraries" on streaming platforms or digital stores can be fickle, subject to changes beyond our control.

This was warned about years before this case, something that is not with you cannot be yours. Is this the end of all-digital media? Of course not, this is just the beginning, but it's definitely a big black mark on digital ownership. Perhaps it's time to ask: Did digital "ownership" ever really exist? Or was it just a nice marketing story?