Sony has u-turned on the closure of PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita devices. First reported at the end of March, the stores due to shutdown in July and August respectively, making many older titles inaccessible to consumers.
The turnaround does not affect the decision to close the PSP store, which will go ahead with its planned closure on July 2nd of this year.
Jim Ryan posted a comment on the PlayStation blog explaining the change of strategy:
“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.”
How viable the store is as a commercial concern remains unknown. Although it seems that some of PlayStation’s most vocal fans, along with those more broadly concerned about the accessibility and archiving of historical content, were concerned enough about the shutdown to sway Sony’s decision.
After all, aggravating some of your most dedicated, long-standing fans isn’t a great way to build trust going forward. And with Microsoft having very much taken the lead when it comes to backwards compatibility, it wasn’t a great look for Sony to abandon potential thousands of games for the sake of updating and running a store.
Still, continuing to run the store is simply a sticking plaster solution for the time being. It’s very hard to see a manageable and reasonable long-term solution for such content, other than near-full backward compatibility support for such titles, while also hosting and selling them on a unified store, which sounds like a major feat at this point.