When Sony’s expanded PlayStation Plus service begins rolling out next month, it’s going to unfold with PlayStation Now, which provides access to hundreds of games from older console generations. Now it looks like the company is getting even more serious about game conservation.
Today is my first day as a Senior Civil Engineer at @PlayStationworking as one of their first hires for the newly created Preservation team!
Game Preservation was my first career passion, so I’m ecstatic that I’m getting back to those roots 😊
– Garrett Fredley (@SomeCronzaGuy) April 25, 2022
According to Twitter and LinkedIn posts discovered by Video Games Chronicle, Sony has hired at least one engineer (Garrett Fredley, a former mobile engineer for mobile developer Kabam) to work on a new conservation team. “Today is my first day as a Senior Build Engineer at @PlayStation, where I work as one of their first hires for the newly created Preservation team! Game Preservation was my first career passion, so I’m ecstatic that I’ll be back to them. roots, “wrote Fredley. “Let’s go and make sure the history of our industry is not forgotten!”
It’s not entirely clear what the conservation team will be working on or what Sony’s goal is for it. Engadget has contacted Sony Interactive Entertainment for clarification.
Sony has not always done a great job of preserving games. Many PS1 games worked on PS2, and the original PS3 models could run many PS1 and PS2 games, but you were not able to play older generation discs on PS4. However, the PS5 supports all but a few PS4 titles.
The company closed the digital PSP storefront last summer, though it went back on a plan to close the PS3 and Vita stores after a significant setback. There is no guarantee that every single PS3 and PSP exclusive will be added to the new PS Plus service, which does not include Vita titles, so some games will be lost to the truth of the times.
In a 2017 interview, Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, talked about seeing Gran Turismo titles on PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 at an event and said something that has haunted him ever since: “PS1 and PS2 the games looked ancient, why should anyone play this? ” Ryan clarified last year that he was trying to draw attention to how good the more modern contributions to the series look and that he did not intend to be disrespectful to PlayStation history. Still, many took his initial comment to mean that Sony did not care about older games.
It’s good to see that Sony is putting more emphasis on game preservation. Non-profit and fan-led projects have led the way on that front. PC players, of course, have access to titles that go back several decades (e.g., I’ve dived in and out of Half life recently).
Microsoft understands that people still want to be able to play old games on modern platforms and has placed more emphasis on backward compatibility in recent years. Xbox Series X / S can run games as far back as the original Xbox.
Like Sony, though, Nintendo has not exactly been good at preserving games. It will shut down 3DS and Wii U stores next year, and is unlikely to transfer all games from these consoles to the Nintendo Switch. Many of these games will be inaccessible to future generations of players.
Update 14:05 ET: Note that PS1 games ran on PS2.
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