The widespread dissemination of information that the internet has allowed makes us think that everything is always a Google search away. Archiving, however, is a more complex process than we think, and losing pieces of history forever is very simple.
Purely physical art has its own conservation issues, well known and studied, while the digital one presents challenges still poorly understood. Over the years the appeals from many experts not to trust the digital archiving of their memories. Nobody knows if in the future the devices will be able to read the files we use today.
The problem of archiving video games
The problem of archiving digital art has recently begun to make its way into the world of video games as well. The most striking case was that of Flash. The deactivation of the Adobe platform for security reasons jeopardized the preservation of thousands of games, saved only thanks to the project Falshpoint.
But there have also been less striking cases, such as that of Ninja Gaiden Black, whose code was too poorly stripped for developers to work on a remaster. He also seems to have noticed this problem Phil Spencer, director of Xbox.
In an interview with Kinda Funny, Spencer spoke at length about the subject, telling himself worried for the lack of attention that the problem of archiving video games arouses:
“Sometimes I think back to what the Paley Center did for TV. Paley soon realized that the TV industry was ready to throw thousands of tapes with old shows on it and said, 'Hey, I want to archive them because maybe someday someone will want to see the Ed Sullivan Show again.' I wish there was a collective effort of the industry to preserve the history of the industry itself, so as not to block access to everything that has brought us to where we are today "
Phil Spencer's solution
However, the new video game technology requires different solutions from those used for television. While collecting old games and rare consoles is widespread, there is nothing to ensure that there will be media suitable for running old hardware in the future. Also this type of conservation restrict access to games, and this appears to be Spencer's primary concern.
This week on Gamescast, we were joined by @XboxP3!
We talked about the shelf behind him, collaborating with other companies, and more!
- Kinda Funny (@KindaFunnyVids) July 14th, 2021
For this the director of Xbox pointed out that projects like the Game Pass, and cloud gaming in general, can solve the accessibility problem. Microsoft has already experimented with the acquisition of Bethesda, which allowed all subscribers to play old titles from the software house.
The model that Microsoft seems to want to undertake regarding the archiving of video games it also departs from the GAAS concept (Game as a service). The monetization of this content is secondary, the central theme is that the title remains available to anyone who accesses the service.