Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN), its online gaming service, suffered an outage on Thursday, stoking gamers’ fears that the company might be retiring support for the PlayStation4 game console.
Sony introduced the PS5, its latest version of the PlayStation console, in late 2020, with the device, as stores struggled with inventory shortages amid huge consumer demand. But many gamers still use PS4s, the earlier version of the console that first hit the market in 2013.
There were more than 1,000 reports of problems connecting to the PSN Thursday afternoon, by far the most frequently reported issue, data from service status website DownDetector showed. The server outage also led players to experience problems logging into their accounts and playing games, prompting some to speculate that Sony had finally pulled the plug on the PS4.
“Are y’all really shutting down the PS4 servers,” one user wrote on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, to PlayStation’s support account. “I was saving for a PS5 but I will switch to Xbox.”
PSN’s website currently shows all services are up and running, and the source of the PlayStation Network’s server issues this afternoon remains unclear. Sony did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.
Is Sony shutting down PS4 servers?
Sony has not made any official announcement about ending support for PS4 servers. In fact, the company late last year said it may continue to make games for the PS4, even as it plans to move forward with PS5-exclusive games, Axios reported in October.
Sony has also shown continued support for even older consoles, such as the PS3, which debuted in 2006. While Sony had previously announced in 2021 that it was shutting down its PS3 digital storefront, the company reversed its decision after a backlash from fans. Both the PS3 servers and store remain in operation in 2023.
What is a server, anyway?
Servers can be either computer programs or hardware that accept and respond to requests from other computers made over a network, according to tech support website ComputerHope.
In the context of gaming, a server is a hosting setup that allows console users to run and participate in multiplayer computer games online.
Why do companies shut down servers?
Companies may shut down servers for games that run on older-generation consoles to pare down their business costs. Such shutdowns typically occur when user activity shrinks after a newer device hits the market. Because maintaining and operating servers is expensive, taking them down can save a company money.
For now, PS4 continues to have a robust user base of approximately 92 million, according to data from headphonesaddict.com.