It might be a billion-dollar industry, but there are classic video games that are slowly being lost to time from the lack of preservation — games that only came with physical copies before the era of digital distribution.

The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF) has teamed up with the Software Preservation Network, which is an entity that aims on innovating software preservation, to publish a report regarding the disappearance of classic video games.

“Classic” refers to all the games released before 2010, which is said to be the year “when digital game distribution started to take off.”


In the said study, it’s been found that a whopping 87% of the said classic games are considered critically endangered as they are not widely available.

One of the given examples in the study is PlayStation 2’s Yakuza from 2006. While it may have been remade in 2016, VGHF said that the 2016 version “is a complete remake from the ground up and should be considered a separate title.”

“For accessing nearly 9 in 10 classic games, there are few options: Seek out and maintain vintage collectible games and hardware, travel across the country to visit a library, or… piracy,” said Kelsey Lewin, VGHF co-director.

“None of those options are desirable, which means most video games are inaccessible to all but the most diehard and dedicated fans. That’s pretty grim,” she added.

SEE ALSO: 10 classic Family Computer games we all loved as kids

What makes it worse is that the laws surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) essentially prevent anyone from creating and distributing copies of any DRM-protected digital work.

The US Copyright Office has already issued an exemption to said rules, which will allow researchers and libraries to archive digital material. However, video games are being widely overlooked.

Lewis said that while libraries are allowed to do a lot of things in terms of preserving such games, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has always been fighting against game preservation efforts.

The VGHF study will be used in a copyright hearing in 2024 with the goal to ask for exemptions for video games.

Via: Kotaku

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