I’ve recently been following an account on Twitter called Does It Play who post about preserving video games. Recently, they have posted some stuff about how, should you not be able to get online or XBox Live dies, you will not be able to play any of your games on the One or Series S/X. The video they link to basically says that MS have done the “always online” thing by stealth (which, really, is kind of obvious).
To be fair, they also talk about Sony not allowing games on the PS5 to run DLC from disk, meaning anyone who buys a game from the secondary market will need to also buy the DLC. They also mention stuff like the Need for Speed delisting.
I’m not saying this account is any kind of authority, but it does raise a good question; how will we be able to play these games if the servers are turned off? Is there any way to preserve them now for the future?
While I can see some decent companies doing something like updating/ patching games so you don’t need to be online to keep playing (I could see Hello Games doing this), I can’t see this happening for all games. And if the whole game isn’t even on the game disk, future emulation via PC is out of the question.
I suppose if a game was 100% downloaded to a console when the servers were turned off someone who knows their stuff could theoretically pull the data off the console to a PC and patch the game to run off line, but that’s a big if.
From a business standpoint I can see why companies would do what they are currently doing.
“What, you loved this game back in the day and want to play it again? Well, why not buy this re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-release for our new console?”
We’ve all done it. I’m embarrassed at how many copies of Myst and Sonic 1 and 2 I own.
However, there are exceptions. It’s impossible to currently play the original version of Lemmings in any legal way on modern computers, despite it being considered a classic game. Sure if you still have an old Mega Drive, SNES or any of the bazillion consoles it was ported to, you could. But the original PC version on a modern machine? Not unless you know your way around DOSBox, and then even that is a grey legal area.
What I’m getting at is not every game will be re-released. I know some of my absolute favourites from the 16-bit era can no longer be played legally, unless you own the old console and cart. Newer gamers who were born in the 2000s can not play them legally.
So why would companies not want to preserve their work? I’ve covered the business side of things, but surely they’d still want copies of the games to be made, even if they aren’t going to release them to the public in the future. In 2056 shouldn’t we still be able to play the games we are now?
What do you guys thing?