Sony has permanently shut down the online services for older LittleBigPlanet games "to protect the LittleBigPlanet community".
In a statement issued this afternoon, Sony said online services for LittleBigPlanet, LittleBigPlanet 2, LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS3) and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita are all now offline for good after a long period of downtime.
In the same breath, Sony updated LittleBigPlanet 3 to bring the LittleBigPlanet server and all 10m+ community levels back online for PlayStation 4 users only.
The news comes after a difficult year for LittleBigPlanet. In April, Eurogamer reported on how community content for various games in the LittleBigPlanet series remained largely inaccessible six weeks after PlayStation first acknowledged issues with the servers.
Community members speaking to Eurogamer for a report back in March pinned the blame on a sustained DDOS campaign orchestrated by a particular individual unhappy with Sony's treatment of the franchise.
More recently, LittleBigPlanet users reported offensive error messages were popping up in-game without warning. Sony then disabled the LittleBigPlanet servers due ongoing attacks. Now we know the servers will not return for all but LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS4.
"We would like to apologise for the extended downtime of the LittleBigPlanet server and want to thank you all for your patience whilst we worked on this issue," Sony said in its statement issued today.
"We have no doubt that this news will come as a disappointment to a lot of you, ultimately this is the best way to protect the LittleBigPlanet community and to help ensure that our online environment remains safe."
An update on the LittleBigPlanet server and online services: pic.twitter.com/vUrvHcZvIs— Sackboy: A Big Adventure | LittleBigPlanet (@LittleBigPlanet) September 13, 2021
Any community content previously published to the server via LBP1/LBP2/LBP3 on PS3 will still be available on LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS4, Sony clarified.
And you can still play the story modes and level pack DLC of LittleBigPlanet 1, LittleBigPlanet 2 and LittleBigPlanet 3 on PS3 in single-player or local co-op.
LittleBigPlanet fans have reacted with sadness to the news, and criticised Sony for not providing players with advanced notice.