The PlayStation Forums are shutting down, sending a strong signal that the age of online message boards is dead.
Forums used to be pretty important places to internet users. It’s difficult to find anyone who was online in the 90s and 2000s who doesn’t have fond memories of some forum or another. The official PlayStation forums would probably be included in that.
It seems like an era is coming to an end. PlayStation has apparently said it will no longer be supporting the forums. According to one of the community managers, the official PlayStation Forums will be shutting down Feb. 27.
Is this the end of forums as we know them?
Forums have a long and sordid history. Basically, they started out as a way of communicating over phone lines before the internet was even a thing. Back then, they were known as BBSs (bulletin board systems) and were mainly used by hardcore enthusiasts.
When the internet sprang up, places like PlayStation Forums quickly took off. Forums gave people with specific interests access to like-minded individuals.
The thing is, with modern social networks it’s much easier to find people to have these conversations with. Join a Facebook group or search a Twitter hashtag. Having entire websites, such as the PlayStation Forums, dedicated to a single subject is as clunky as BBS seemed to early forum users.
Just because they’re obsolete doesn’t mean that forums are going to disappear. BBS is even more obsolete and yet there are still over 500 of the sodding things. Just like all ‘vintage’ technology, forums are going to be preserved by enthusiasts.
It wouldn’t be too much of a shock to hear someone has plans to archive the PlayStation Forums as well. Hosting a dead forum on a new, unofficial, website sounds just like something a hardcore preservationist would do.
Like other modes of communication, online forums are evolving and many are no longer relevant. Even then, they’re not completely gone. Reddit is basically just ‘forums: the website’ and look how popular it has become.