As the company shifts its focus toward the PlayStation 5, Sony has been reallocating resources from its older and less-used departments. They first announced on-demand video services will cease August 31, making way for streaming services. Rumours then circulated, and were later confirmed, that the PlayStation Store would no longer be accessible from PS3, PSP, or Vita systems after the summer. Existing digital purchases would have remained available for redownload, but new purchases would not have been possible.
“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,” said Ryan, “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.”
Although the PS3 and Vita have been spared, the PSP will still lose access to the digital storefront on July 2. However much of its content is still accessible to Vita players anyway, so trimming the sixteen-year old handheld makes sense.
The decisions may have caused whiplash for some, but it’s encouraging to see Sony heeding the voices of its consumers. The PlayStation 3 remains a viable piece of hardware for some, with its Blu-ray drive, backward compatibility with PSone, and access to some streaming services. Its PlayStation Store pages are chock-full with multiple generations worth of quality content, which many users have been desperately scouring for the last few weeks since the termination rumours began.
Perhaps Sony can learn from the fan outcry and realize that players would appreciate expanded backward compatibility on their next-gen console. The whole situation is also a cautionary tale for consumers, a reminder that our digital purchases may not be as permanent as we may think.