On Monday, April 19, Sony announced that it will go back on a previous announcement and allow the PlayStation Store to remain operational for the PS3 and PS Vita. The PlayStation Store for the PSP, however, will stick to the original plan and shut down on July 2.
This turn-around comes mere weeks after their initial announcement about shutting down the PlayStation Store on all three platforms, which was met with public outcry from fans the world over.
Changing Their Mind
This announcement was posted on the official PlayStation Blog in a post written by President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Jim Ryan, who, in a moment of refreshing honesty, admitted that the company “made the wrong decision here”.
Ryan says the decision to end support for the PS3 and PS Vita was based on a number of factors which include “commerce support challenges for older devices and the ability for [Sony] to focus more of [its] resources on newer devices…”
Well… This has got me pleasantly surprised. I was thinking SONY would be very firm on shutting down the old store fronts to make room for more PS5 server space, so seeing them actually 180ing makes me very happy. Gives me more time to buy all The PS3 and VITA content I want. https://t.co/0RuZYpmT3u
— No Context Neptunia (@NepuContext) April 19, 2021
Ryan didn’t comment on why the company is still planning on shutting down the PSP store but it’s not surprising since the PSP is such an old console. It hasn’t seen support since 2014.
The Public Outcry That Was
When the news got out that Sony was going to shut down these online stores, fans were not happy. Social media exploded as passionate fans expressed their thoughts and were heavily critical of Sony’s decision.
Popular gaming YouTuber, Maximilian Dood, raised an interesting point concerning Sony’s decision saying, “Sony has aggressively said that they are not interested in old games. ‘Why would you play old games?’ is what some of their executives have said.”
One of the most egregious aspects of this story is that of the developers who were not warned of the decision ahead of time. Some decided to cancel their games. Lillymo Games, developers for games such as Twin Breaker and Habroxia, heard the news at the same time everyone else did and decided to cancel their next game for the PS Vita because “the store will be closed before our next game is ready.”
With today's news of the Vita Store closing, we sadly have had to cancel the Vita version of our next game. The store will be closed before our next game is ready, so it seems Habroxia 2 will be our final Vita release.
— Lillymo Games (@LillymoGames) March 29, 2021
Games like Scourgebringer have been given an extra life, as prior to this rescinded decision, the game would have only been available for 128 days on the Vita before being gone forever.
While many on social media were happy that Sony decided to turn back on their decision, this whole calamitous situation has furthered the disconnect between Sony and gamers. And late last year, news broke out that PlayStation, as a brand, was losing Japanese gamers due to recent corporate decisions like moving its headquarters to California.
In his blog post -mentioned previously- Jim Ryan said that upon further reflection, Sony recognized it was a bad move to close down three platforms.
As a PlayStation fan, I have to say that I hope Sony continues their introspection, retracting their terrible decisions and communicating better. Otherwise, they stand to lose a lot of ground to competitors like Microsoft.