The debate over video game preservation has reached fever point recently. Sony has announced it's closing the PS3, PS Vita and PSP online stores, and Nintendo killed Mario yesterday – or to be specific, removed Super Mario 3D All-Stars from sale.
It’s led to growing concerns that digital purchases could be lost forever or restricted in some way if a company decides to terminate its online platform or services. With digital purchases growing significantly in recent years, which has led to digital-only consoles like the PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox Series S, the possibility of not being able to play or purchase certain titles in the future has become an increasing concern among the gaming community.
Microsoft, on the other hand, is doing its best to keep its older library of games alive, and is also making them more accessible than ever. It recently announced that 16 backward compatible games from the Xbox 360 and original Xbox are coming to Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta), which means you can now play these games on your Android device if you have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
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Xbox reiterated its commitment to video game preservation in a post on Twitter. Replying to a user, Xbox’s official account said that “As time goes on, it becomes more important than ever that we ensure gaming icons and classics are preserved for new and old players alike.” We hope that Nintendo and Sony take note.
As time goes on, it becomes more important than ever that we ensure gaming icons and classics are preserved for new and old players alike. Whether your first time playing Morrowind is from 2002 on your Xbox or 2021 on your phone, we're excited to share these experiences with you!March 31, 2021
Rare’s studio head Craig Duncan also shared his opinion on Xbox Wire about why backward compatibility is so important, stating that “being able to relive games you played previously and fondly remember is important.”
Unlike the PS5, which only supports PS4 games via backwards compatibility (a selection of PS3 and PS2 titles can be streamed if you have a PlayStation Now subscription but not downloaded), the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S lets you play original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games either digitally or physically if you have the disc. It means that every Xbox generation is available to players, and now mobile users can get in on the action without even needing to own an Xbox One or new Xbox console.
Video game preservation has always been a tricky subject. Previously, a new generation would usually result in a previous generation’s games being locked to the original hardware they released on. We’d sometimes see remasters, remakes or re-releases, but now, expectations have changed and there’s demand for older games to be accessible for players. It seems like consumers are growing tired of paying for games they already own, and practices that involve limited run releases like Super Mario 3D All-Stars certainly don’t help.
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Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.