The PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita digital storefronts will not close this summer, as had originally been the plan. In an announcement made this afternoon on the PlayStation Blog, Sony reversed course on its initial decision and will keep the PlayStation Store operational for the PS3 and PS Vita.
The PlayStation Portable will not be saved, however. Sony reaffirmed, “PSP commerce functionality will retire on July 2, 2021 as planned.” Seeing as how the handheld device is over 15 years old, I think that’s okay.
Sony Interactive Entertainment President & CEO Jim Ryan offered the following statement on the new decision:
"When we initially came to the decision to end purchasing support for PS3 and PS Vita, it was born out of a number of factors, including commerce support challenges for older devices and the ability for us to focus more of our resources on newer devices where a majority of our gamers are playing on. We see now that many of you are incredibly passionate about being able to continue purchasing classic games on PS3 and PS Vita for the foreseeable future, so I’m glad we were able to find a solution to continue operations."
Sony initially announced that the PlayStation Store would be closing on these three devices last month. The decision was met with intense criticism for a plethora of reasons.
As AppTrigger’s Eric Halliday pointed out, Sony’s closing the legacy PlayStation Stores felt like a push for gamers to upgrade to the PlayStation 5. But with the PS5 pretty much sold out everywhere and not readily available for purchase, it’s not quite the time to be closing these older storefronts. A lot of people still buy and play games on these legacy consoles. Heck, the Vita still had games in development for it which were going to be canceled as a result of Sony’s initial decision.
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But as fellow contributor George Loftus pointed out, there could’ve been good reason for the initial decision. Closing the stores might have meant — in a perfect dream world — that Sony would start dropping older PlayStation titles on its PlayStation Now subscription service. It was only hypothetical, but can you imagine?
Although many of us have upgraded to the PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 4, it’s important to remember that there are still a lot of folks who are content with the PS3 or Vita. I don’t know the financials behind Sony’s decision — if operating these older storefronts are profitable for the company — but keeping them open is a sign of goodwill. Sometimes that perception is more valuable than the dollars themselves.