Sony Reverses Course On Shutting Down PlayStation Store For PS3, Vita Devices

from the about-face! dept

Well, well, this is certainly moving fast. Regular readers will recall that we've been having a conversation lately about how both customer purchases and video game as art are generally preserved in the face of platforms shutting down the hosting servers that keep all of this data. With a specific eye towards art preservation, this conversation has been largely propelled by Sony's recent announcement that it would be shutting down support for the PlayStation Store for the PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP consoles. The consternation over all of this only got worse when it was noticed that Sony's batteries on the PS3 and PS4 consoles have a weird little time-sync check-in that has to occur with the PlayStation Network if they're replaced, or else those consoles will be unable to play many, in some cases all, games.

Phew. Anyhoo, while these revelations have been ongoing over the past few weeks, Sony suddenly announced that it was kicking the can down the road by reversing its decision to stop supporting the PS3 and Vita PlayStation Stores.

Today, Sony announced it will no longer shut down the PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita users.

“Recently, we notified players that PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita devices was planned to end this summer,” wrote Sony Interactive’s president and CEO Jim Ryan on the PlayStation blog. “Upon further reflection, however, it’s clear that we made the wrong decision here. So today I’m happy to say that we will be keeping the PlayStation Store operational for PS3 and PS Vita devices. PSP commerce functionality will retire on July 2, 2021 as planned.”

To be clear, the public backlash and angst over all of this is what drove this decision. That being said, it's still worth noting that Sony listened to the public critique of its plan and reversed course. But while that's ultimately a good thing, it's a temporary good thing. Unless someone is going to start suddenly paying attention to what happens when this issue comes up again in the future, this is just punting on the problem for now.

But there may be some reason for hope. Based on some of what's coming out of Sony's reversal, it looks like the company may actually be paying attention to the preservation issue.

The Gamer recently published interviews with several indie developers who would have lost their work and revenue if Sony continued with its plans. It seems this change of heart was in part motivated by the idea of digital conservation. In the blog, Ryan mentions being happy that Sony’s figured out how to “keep this piece of our history alive for gamers to enjoy.”

Again, alive for now. Sony's actions in the coming months are going to demonstrate better whether the company is now committing to a new focus on preservation or if this was all done as a temporary solution to a longer term problem.

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Filed Under: playstation, ps3, store, video games, vita
Companies: sony


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  • icon
    fairuse (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:06pm

    This issue has a solution

    All Sony has to do is issue a patch that turns off the phone home when battery is replaced. Only Sony is so sneaky as to brick devices that are being archived for history reasons. Yes, I know that bit of code is only there because resell hardware is piracy in the product suit's mind.

    I avoid Sony products like they are poisonous animals. Last Item was LCD HD TV with Blu-ray player (pre 2012).

    Maybe I will dump PS-0[?],disk drive, RF thingy to F-connector, two memory cards in front, and stuff in boxes.

    I don't game now but have disks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 1:20am

    That's great. But yeah, temporary. Even if they keep the servers online forever, the hardware will eventually begin to fail and new consoles are no longer manufactured.

    The only permanent solution is backwards compatibility. To let players to play old games on modern hardware.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      How is backwards compatibility is a permanent solution? You are making it backwards compatible with another temporary proprietary closed system. The new xbox being backwards compatible won't help you at all once it's gone

      Somewhat "permanent" solutions to release the work along with any dependencies after you are done with it so that volunteers can port it to run on general purpose system and keep it maintained, or for volunteers to make emulators to be able to run it on current general purpose hardware after you are gone. Even then, they are only solutions so long as those general purpose platforms stay around and/or someone somewhere cares enough to try to keep them maintained as the available platforms to run such things on change and break compatibility.

      Not to mention the server side dependencies will often take effort and money on their own just to be available in case someone wants to run the game someday

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re:

        Well if we're going that way, then nothing in the universe up to and including the universe itself is truly eternal.

        But being able to run old games on new hardware is permanent enough in human scale time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          crade (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          None of the really old games for would be playable anymore if we were relying on backwards compatibility. Companies go away for change priorities. Emulation is the way to go if hardware can handle it, or porting to a common platform so that backwards compatibility for everything can be maintained together

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      Backwards compatability means that people aren't shelling out money to rent old games on PS Now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:34am

    I see two possible fixes. Both involve pushing a software update. The difference is what the update does. They are:

    1. Stop phoning home and allow the user to set the date and time.
    2. Use the public NTP servers to get the time instead of Sony's servers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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