Earlier today, Sony announced that it reversed its decision to shut down the PlayStation 3 and Vita stores this year. Jim Ryan, President & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, admitted the company was wrong in its initial plan to stop offering games made for the console and handheld.
In March, Sony shared that both stores would close by the end of Summer, ending support for multiple generations of PlayStation software. The news was met with dismay by the gaming community, particularly game preservationists dedicated to preserving video games, particularly in the events of digital store closures and discontinued software support. Sony’s decision to end support was particularly unwelcome given how Microsoft, the company’s main competitor, is doing the exact opposite, making original Xbox titles playable for the first time on modern consoles through its backward compatibility program.
Titles designed for the PlayStation 3 are uniquely challenging to port to other hardware due to the console’s unique cell-based architecture. As a result, the PlayStation 3 store is crucial to preserving most of the console’s exclusive titles, one reason why fans were so frustrated by Sony’s original decision.
PlayStation Vita games aren’t nearly as tricky to port but, since the handheld is only ten years old, ending support in 2021 seemed a bit premature. Sony still intends to discontinue PlayStation Portable games on its digital store. Considering the PSP debuted midway through the Bush administration, that decision is much more defensible.