Sony reverses decision to close PS3 and PS Vita stores

Sony has reversed its decision to shut down the ability to purchase games on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, according to a statement from Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan.

The announcement that Sony was closing the PS3 and PS Vita stores came at the end of March, verifying rumors that had been floating around the internet a couple of weeks prior. This caused an outcry from both fans of those consoles and preservationists who were worried that closing those digital stores would make basically erase a large part of PlayStation’s history, as well as the hard work of many developers and creators.

This feedback was not lost on Sony. In his statement, Ryan said that “it’s clear that [Sony] made the wrong decision,” which was initially “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.” However, following the “incredibly passionate” feedback from fans, Sony was somehow “able to find a solution to continue operations.”

However, the PSP store did not escape the chopping block, as that system’s “commerce functionality will retire on July 2nd, 2021 as planned.”

What’s notable about Sony’s decision to keep its PS3 and PS Vita stores open isn’t just that Sony listened to the fans, but it’s one of the first times that a major player in the industry has acknowledged the cultural impact of shutting down digital stores. As the industry becomes more digital, video game history faces a more uncertain future, and many games that were only available digitally face extinction as soon as their stores go offline. In his statement, Ryan specifically says that he’s “glad that we can keep this piece of our history alive for gamers to enjoy.” That’s huge, especially in the context of companies like Nintendo and Xbox shutting down its WiiWare and XBILG stores respectively.

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