20 Apr 2021 1:16 PM +00:00

Sony's PS3 and Vita U-Turn Is Welcome, But Don't Give It Too Much Credit

Following reports over the last few weeks that Sony was due to shut down the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita storefronts, the company announced the reversal of its decision yesterday.

While it would be easy to look upon the climbdown as a "power of the people" scenario, it's hard not to see the decision as cynical.

Read More: Sony's Storefront Fiasco Shows It Misunderstands The Value of Nostalgia

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Sony's PS3 and Vita U-Turn Is Welcome, But Don't Give It Too Much Credit

Maybe I'm just jaded, but given that Nintendo re-released a trio of Mario ports last month before having them stricken from the eshop, the idea of which to cultivate artificial demand, it's hard not to see Sony testing the water in a similar way.

After all, who among us was checking the PS3 and Vita stores on a regular basis prior to the announcement of their impending closures? Of course, there were some people doing just that, sure, but Sony has likely monitored the spike in numbers of people perusing its digital shelves.

As I alluded to on Twitter, it feels like Sony was happy to let hundreds of games become lost to time (allegedly even removing patches from its servers), before it realised that there was money to be made.

While many in the PlayStation ecosystem flocked to eBay and other retailers, there's a good chance many dug out their old consoles in order to throw some cash down.

Of course, not every platform has been saved by Sony's U-turn. The PSP, an impressive console in its heyday will still have no digital store in the coming months, all but killing the PSP Go variant.

Why didn't the PSP survive the cull in the way its brethren did? Sony didn't leave an explanation, but it could be because it wasn't getting the attention that PS3 and PS Vita were.

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While some PSP games will run on a Vita, it's a minuscule list compared to the full variety of titles available on the system, and it only works digitally. Cutting the PSP store off in July, as planned, is still a tough pill to swallow.

So, while we should applaud Sony for allowing us to jump into classics like the Resistance games or Persona 4: Golden, it's hard not to feel like more could have been done.

As Jim Ryan himself once said:

"I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

Once again, it feels like Sony has missed the point of preservation.