Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

It’s been a yearlong wait, but Funimation will finally shut down on April 2nd. Remaining subscribers will be transferred to Crunchyroll, where legacy pricing and digital libraries will not be honored. Other features, such as watch history and streaming queues, will be merged with or transferred to your Crunchyroll account.

Sony announced that it would merge Funimation and Crunchyroll after acquiring the latter service in 2021. But the merger didn’t begin until 2022, and Funimation has continued to operate as a standalone service with a regular flow of new content. Presumably, prior licensing agreements and a technically difficult merging process kept Funimation on life support. But the grace period has ended, and Funimation is now alerting customers of the April 2nd shutdown.

Funimation’s pricing differs from that of Crunchyroll. As a result, automatically-migrated subscribers may experience price increases. This will mainly impact legacy subscribers who pay as little as $4.58 for their Funimation membership. If you’re a Funimation subscriber, you’ll receive an email with information on Crunchyroll’s pricing. For reference, the cheapest Crunchyroll plan costs $7.99 a month.

“Please note that Crunchyroll does not currently support Funimation Digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported. However, we are continuously working to enhance our content offerings and provide you with an exceptional anime streaming experience. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to explore the extensive anime library available on Crunchyroll.”

This merger also marks the end of Funimation’s “digital copies” system. In the past, Funimation members could redeem digital copies of associated DVDs or Blu-ray discs. A four-year-old Funimation supoprt page says that digital copies are available “forever,” but a new end of service page states that “previously available digital copies will not be supported” on Crunchyroll.

It’s a stark reminder that “digital ownership” isn’t real ownership. The digital copies system was very generous—it was a nice perk for people who purchased anime on DVD and Blu-ray. But the “forever” policy may have encouraged customers to buy physical media and commit to the Funimation service. Those who spent extra money because of this policy are understandably upset.

This is just the latest example of digital ownership’s downsides. Last year, PlayStation announced that it would remove all Discovery-owned content purchases from users’ libraries. PlayStation reversed the decision after forming a new licensing agreement with Discovery.

All Funimation accounts will be automatically transferred to Crunchyroll on April 2nd. In any case, you should manually transfer your account before the cutoff date. Simply log into Crunchyroll using your Funimation credentials. Existing Crunchyroll accounts can also be merged with Funimation accounts, but only if both accounts are associated with the same email address. You’ll need to contact Crunchyroll if your two accounts use different emails.

Source: Funimation via The Verge

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By John P.

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