Sony is removing some StudioCanal content from users' PlayStation libraries in certain territories, meaning those users won't be able to view that content anymore. The removal will take effect in August, and though it's currently limited to two countries in Europe, there's a chance it could happen elsewhere, too.
What StudioCanal content is Sony removing from users' PlayStation libraries?
According to an official post on the German PlayStation website, StudioCanal TV shows and movies are being removed from users' accounts due to "evolving license agreements with content providers". Not only will users in Germany and Austria no longer be able to buy or download the affected content, but it'll also be removed from their PlayStation libraries. Affected shows and movies include American Gods, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and John Wick. The full list of movies and shows is pretty long, so we'd recommend checking it out yourself if you want to make sure none of your comfort watches are on there.
As pointed out by GamesIndustry.biz, Sony announced it would no longer offer the chance to buy shows and movies via the PlayStation Store last March, when it also announced it would close the digital PS3 store. However, in that announcement, Sony said that users would still be able to watch any movies and shows they'd downloaded and that they'd still be able to download those movies and shows. This time around, it looks like the StudioCanal content is gone for good, so you'll have to find it elsewhere if you want to rewatch it.
Why this matters: an issue for game preservation
Right now, this change is only taking effect in Germany and Austria, but it's easy to see how Sony could make the same decision for other countries and territories. Unfortunately, the same logic that lets Valve remove games from your Steam library also allows Sony to delete movies and shows from your collection; when you buy content on the PlayStation Store, it isn't technically yours, as you're simply licensing it. That means Sony effectively gets to decide when to pull the plug on that content, and the implications of this system for game preservation should be obvious. Your content is only safe as long as Sony keeps up its licensing agreements or decides it doesn't want to delete said content.
Of course, this StudioCanal case is unusually restrictive. For the most part, when games are taken down from sale on the PlayStation Store (or on other digital storefronts, for that matter), they can be redownloaded and replayed if you've already bought them. In this case, however, the StudioCanal movies and shows won't be available to download or watch, even if you have already bought them. We'll bring you more on this, including whether it's happening in other countries too, as soon as we get it.