The official Sony forums were never an enjoyable place to hang out. The site code was terrible, the servers were slow as molasses, the rankings system was broken until it got totally destroyed, and there were too many “post and run” people who would post one issue or complaint and disappear forever.
Last week, Sony finally put the nail in the coffin by announcing that they would be shutting down the forums completely on February 20, 2020. The community is obviously bummed out, and they’re also not holding their breath about Sony keeping at least an archive of existing posts. Sony will most likely wipe the site out completely and there won’t be a trace of the old forum left after they’re finished.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the PlayStation gaming community has organized and launched a new forum, which will be run independently and hopefully not have any of the issues that the Sony-run site had. The new site is appropriately called PlayStation Forum. It seems to run on the XenForo forum engine, has a simple design with good features, and the servers are pretty fast. My prediction is that it will do a lot better than the old site. With the PS5 launch looming, there will be on shortage of gaming news, hype, and opportunity to engage in the next round of “console war” name-calling.
The moral of the story is that company-run forums are almost always guaranteed to fail. The moderators are too heavy-handed and ban-happy, and you are always restricted from discussing some topics or criticizing the company. With reddit having done so poorly under Conde Nast‘s terrible management that it had to be spun out, independent gaming forums are the last decent outlet for gaming discussion in its classic form.