Sony has single-handedly managed to p*ss off the entire anime community, as it’s announced plans to erase purchased digital content as part of Funimation’s merger with Crunchyroll. The Japanese giant effectively has a stranglehold on the popular form of media, as it owns all of the major streaming services and a chunk of content – although it would argue the existence of Netflix and Disney+ means it doesn’t have a monopoly on the market.
That’s not stopping it from eradicating huge swathes of digital content, however, when Funimation ceases to exist from 2nd April. In addition to offering on-demand streaming, Funimation would also release physical DVDs and Blu-rays, including digital codes which allowed the content to be added to a user’s library and streamed “forever”.
Except, these digital copies will cease to exist later this year. “Please note that Crunchyroll does not currently support Funimation digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported,” a spokesperson said. “However, we are continuously working to enhance our content offerings and provide you with an exceptional anime streaming experience.”
Those that held onto their DVDs and Blu-rays will of course still be able to enjoy this content, but some are frustrated because they decided to resell or gift their physical copies, assuming they’d have access to the content digitally indefinitely. It’s a stark reminder that, no matter what companies say, digital content does not last forever – and your content is ultimately beholden to suits keeping the servers switched on.