At the end of last year, we ran a story that resonated with a lot of people when Sony lost the rights to some digital content it had previously been selling via its online store. This content was subsequently removed from PlayStation owners’ libraries even though they had bought it with their own money.
It caused a bit of a stir and served to highlight that you don’t really own what you “buy” in a lot of cases anymore.
Anyway, they have just done it again, so prepare for another backlash along similar lines.
Sony has confirmed in a rather bland and extensive statement that it will be shuttering the Funimation service – an anime streaming service on 2nd April so that it can focus entirely on Crunchyroll, another similar anime streaming service, and will migrate Funimation subscriptions to Crunchyroll.
Sounds fair enough, until you get to the bit that reads, “We understand that you may have concerns about your digital copies from Funimation. These Digital copies available on Funimation were a digital access to the content available on the DVDs or Blu-rays purchased. Please note that Crunchyroll does not currently support Funimation Digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported.”
Another kicker is that a juicy price hike to Crunchyroll has also been announced. Previously Anime fans were paying just $54.95 a year for Crunchyroll, but from next January that will almost double to $99.99.
Gizmodo reports that this price hike is not down to a “flood of new shows” from Crunchyroll’s acquisition of Funimation, as they acquired the service two years ago and have only now chosen to put it out to pasture.
While this move affects a very specific audience, ie the anime crowd, consumers are once again left with zero protection against these moves and many are alarmed when they hear comments from industry figures keen on moving everything to digital subscriptions.
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