This week, a report revealed that Sony plans to disable the PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and PSP’s storefronts for purchasing. According to the article published by The Gamer, the PS3 and PSP shops will go offline from 2nd July, and the PS Vita will be disabled on 27th August. We’ve asked the platform holder to elaborate on its plans, but at the time of writing have received no response.
We can probably infer from its silence over the past 24 hours that the reports are accurate, although official confirmation is still required. There are many gaps in the original article, however, that the manufacturer will need to address: will download libraries be retained, for example? Nintendo closed down the Wii’s storefront on 30th January, 2019 – but purchased content remains available.
Communication from Sony is going to be key here, but the news couldn’t have come at a worse time. The perception around PlayStation is that it cares little for its legacy, and many fans point to the lack of PS1 games on both the PS5 and PS4 as an example. The organisation spent a short time porting PS2 titles to PS4 a few years back, but this initiative was irritatingly short-lived.
It doesn’t help that its competitor, Xbox, has committed to unifying its brand’s history under one umbrella, with all of its generations playable on the current Xbox Series X|S – and many titles from that catalogue available as part of a single Game Pass subscription. It’s not hard to envisage a similarly strong offering from Sony, spanning Twisted Metal through to Resistance: Fall of Man.
While the manufacturer has done a good job celebrating its back catalogue with blockbuster remakes of cult classics like Demon’s Souls, some commentary from executives like Jim Ryan has not helped matters. In an interview with Time, he famously asked “Why would anyone play this?” in regards to the old-school Gran Turismo games compared to the newest entry.
It’s always been clear that the PS3 has represented a noose around Sony’s neck, and jettisoning that ancient infrastructure will presumably allow PS5 to flourish in ways it currently can’t. However, if the manufacturer does intend to take the console offline in roughly three months, then it’s not giving much of a heads-up – it feels like this should have been communicated at least a year in advance, especially with new titles continuing to launch on PS Vita.
Furthermore, the platform holder is going to have to deal with the repercussions from enthusiasts. It’s unlikely the disgruntlement on social media will impact the organisation’s bottom line, but there’s a growing sentiment that Sony cares little for its history and is reluctant to celebrate its past achievements. If that’s not true, then it’s going to need to act to prove otherwise.