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Streaming and disc-free gaming will be problematic for video game history preservation

Digital downloads endanger preservation

Video game systems have proceeded steady fast towards a digital only future where games will no longer be available in physical form. Sony’s PS Vita Go console was a failed attempt to be fully digital but Microsoft’s new Xbox One S discless console is now the very first major system to drop out the DVD/Blu-Ray drive. This will be a major problem for future gaming archeologists and researchers.

Andrew Borman, Digital Games Curator at the Strong Museum of Play, tells to that there is currently no model for preserving playable versions of streamed games. After the download servers are closed, there is no way to acquire and install the games to the actual hardware. Best way to experience those games are the videos created by Youtubers.

“We can’t see the files and the elements of the game including art and story. We have no means to revive the game so that it can be played not just now, but decades from now. The idea of ownership disappears.

Carly Kocurek says in VICE: “Preservation standards and practices in video games are less well defined than those for film, television, or other established media forms. Today’s archivists, a mix of professionals and committed collectors, are already unsure of how to handle emerging forms due to the complex interdependencies between software, hardware, servers, and networks.”

More information: Streaming and Cloud Computing Endanger Modding and Game Preservation


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