Last month, Sony Interactive Entertainment received quite a lot of flak around their plans to close the digital PlayStation Storefronts for three of their earlier generation consoles – the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. While, unfortunately, the PSP is still lining up to have its store closed in July, the PS3 and PS Vita have received a reprieve from the planned closure.
In a statement on the official PlayStation Blog by Present & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Jim Ryan, the following was shared
Recently, we notified players that PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita devices was planned to end this summer.
Upon further reflection, however, it’s clear that we made the wrong decision here. So today I’m happy to say that we will be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices. PSP commerce functionality will retire on July 2, 2021 as planned.
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.
With the PlayStation Vita backwards compatible with the PlayStation Portable, this means that no digital exclusive games for any of the three platforms should theoretically be rendered unavailable unless removed by the publisher. But this does beg the question that while the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita stores are available now, will they be for years to come? Will we be here in 6, 12, 24 months feeling the same concerns as we were before, and in this period, what can both Sony Interactive Entertainment and the Community do to ensure no games are lost to the annals of time.
It would be the dream for Sony Interactive Entertainment to incorporate at least digital backwards compatibility from the PS1-PS3 + PSP/Vita eras into the PlayStation 5 and follow on a track similar to Xbox’s approach to backwards compatibility, but that may just be a pipe dream.