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Sony shutting down PSP's digital storefront in 2016

Sony is ending support for the PlayStation Portable’s digital storefront in Japan next year, rendering the PlayStation Store permanently inaccessible via the company’s legacy portable console.

PSP games and apps will still be available for purchase from the PlayStation Network, but users will no longer be able to buy and download digital titles using the PlayStation Portable’s built-in connectivity features.

Related: PSP RPG Summon Night 5 debuting stateside in limited retail pressing

Sony will close the PSP’s storefront in March of 2016, officially ceasing the sale of digital games via its first-ever portable games console. The shutdown will also end the company’s Japan-exclusive UMD Passport program.

The UMD Passport service allowed PSP owners to download digital versions of previously purchased UMD titles and transfer them to PS Vita and PlayStation TV platforms for a nominal fee. The program was never available outside of Japan, due to cost concerns and the PSP’s comparative lack of popularity in other regions.

Following next year’s shutdown, PSP users will still be able to download and install compatible games from the PlayStation Network via a Sony-proposed workaround. Players will first need to download PSP games to a PS Vita, PlayStation 3, or PC before transferring them to a connected PSP. The process ensures that all user purchases will remain accessible even after the PSP’s online functionality ceases.

Originally released in Japan in 2004, the PlayStation Portable was Sony’s first portable video games console. The platform supported games and movies available at retail via the proprietary UMD format, and later added support for digitally distributed apps.

The PSP sold more than 82 million units worldwide during its decade-long lifespan, with the final units shipping to retail in 2014. New games continue to trickle out for the legacy platform in its twilight years via niche publishers, including upcoming localizations of Summon Night 5 and Class of Heroes 3.

Sony will end PlayStation Store support for the PSP in Japan on March 31, 2015. Shutdown dates for other regions were not announced.