Sony saves PS3 and Vita stores, but it’s not all good news

PlayStation Vita
(Image credit: Future)

It’s a good day for the PS3 and the PS Vita — and a less good day for the PSP. Three weeks after Sony announced that the PS3, PSP and Vita digital storefronts would shut down, the company has about-faced on two counts. After extensive fan backlash, Sony has announced that it will keep the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita stores open indefinitely. However, the PlayStation Portable store is still slated to meet its end on July 2. If there are any PSP games you’ve always wanted to own, now is probably the time to buy them.

Information comes from the official PlayStation Blog. Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote the piece. In it, he offers a succinct explanation of why Sony wanted to shut down the stores, and why it decided to (mostly) renege on its decision.

“Upon further reflection … it’s clear that we made the wrong decision here,” Ryan wrote. “So today I’m happy to say that we will be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices.”

Ryan explained that there were both logistical and philosophical reasons behind wanting to shut down these stores in the first place.

“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, including commerce support challenges for older devices and the ability for us to focus more of our resources on newer devices.”

What’s not clear, however, is whether Sony plans to support PS3 and Vita digital purchases indefinitely. It’s entirely possible that the PS3 and Vita stores will stay up for the long haul. It’s also possible that they’ve merely received a stay of execution. Remember that Sony wanted to shut down these services because not many people were using them, and it’s unlikely that demand will increase as time goes on.

There’s also the issue of PSP purchases. It’s not clear why the PS3 and Vita stores are worth keeping online, but the PSP store isn’t. It’s possible that the PSP store is significantly less trafficked, or that it requires more resources to stay up and running. Whatever the case, Sony could still change its mind between now and July 2, but players probably shouldn’t bet on a last-minute save for the PSP store.

Sony’s wishy-washy attitude on older games is indicative of a larger conversation in the gaming space. Microsoft has been taking great pains to preserve, and even improve, old games, with a big push for backwards compatibility on the Xbox Series X/S. Nintendo and Sony, on the other hand, have limited backwards compatibility with older systems, and taken older game stores offline. It’s a noticeable problem for retro gamers — and an enormous problem for the preservation of gaming history.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.