In an unexpected turn of events, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has reversed their March decision to close the PlayStation Online Stores on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
SIE President Jim Ryan said in a statement that it is “clear that we made the wrong decision here,” and that the PS Vita and PS3 stores will not close any time soon. The PlayStation Portable online store, however, will still close on July, 2, 2021. I don’t think anyone’s crying over the PSP store closing. The PSP has been the pirating wonder-system since George W. Bush was president, so I don’t imagine anyone is still paying for games on the PSP.
While SIE’s original statement about the closure was vague in explaining why they were closing down the stores, Ryan’s new statement is unexpectedly direct saying, “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.”
Ryan closed off saying, “I’m glad that we can keep this piece of our history alive for gamers to enjoy, while we continue to create cutting-edge new game worlds for PS4, PS5, and the next generation of VR. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us – we’re always listening and appreciate the support from our PlayStation community.”
I don’t think anyone thought SIE would reverse their decision. Certainly fans were upset, myself included, but video game players have been conditioned to accept that corporate decisions are final. Sony also had a bit of an interesting conundrum on their hands if they did follow through with closing the PS3 and Vita stores. Those two systems are the last legal avenue to buy some highly sought after PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games that Sony no longer manufactures. By closing the online store, Sony would have given the silent green-light to just emulate the games no longer legally accessible.
On the matter of emulation, though, there is a bit of a blurred ethical line. Most of the games going away live on in second-hand retro game shops. Those kinds of stores most certainly deserve your money before SIE, the multinational corporation.
The trick is, SIE would rather you buy a game from them rather than your local retro shop. For reasons I cannot comprehend, Sony doesn’t sell digital PS1 and PS2 games on the PS4 and PS5, only the PS3, PS Vita and PSP. There’s no way to know with certainty if SIE’s decision was truly fueled by mourning Vita fans or the delayed realization that closing the stores meant closing the door on people who want to give you money (duh), but the conclusion is that PlayStation 3 and Vita owners can take a deep breath; unless you’re already knee-deep in the emulation wonderland, as PlayStation 1 and 2 emulation have been near-perfected on PC for years.