only 13% are available on the market

The spy shooter No One Lives Forever received critical acclaim upon its release in 2000, winning multiple awards and a sequel. However, if you want to play it in 2023, You’ll need to use one of the few digital files available on the webbecause neither No One Lives Forever nor its sequel are available on Steam or other platforms.

As revealed by a new study Produced by the Video Game History Foundation, No One Lives Forever is an example of a market where Only 13% of pre-2010 games are available for purchase. Thousands of games are difficult to obtain legally, including popular platform games like Game Boy.

Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find a used VHS tape and keep your own old gear so you can keep watching.

“Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find a used VHS tape and keep your own old gear to keep watching,” Kelsey Lewin of the Video Game History Foundation wrote in the post Study. “And what if no library, not even the Library of Congress, could do it better? You could save and digitize this Titanic VHS, but you would have to go there to see it.“.

like silent movies

That’s pretty much the situation the video game industry is in. The study compares the commercial availability of classic video games to the survival rate of silent films (14%) and pre-WWII audio recordings (10% or less).

The new study, which the Video Game History Foundation calls the first of its kind, looked at more than 4,000 games released in the US before 2010, with a focus on the Commodore 64, the Game Boy and the PlayStation 2. The Commodore 64 , which was first introduced in 1982, is described as an “abandoned ecosystem with the least commercial interest”while the Game Boy is described as “sloppy” and the PlayStation 2 as “active”.

according to the message, General Availability of Historical Games is ‘Gloomy’, and many of them are being held back by technical, legal, and other issues. Goldeneye 007, which finally re-released on Xbox and Nintendo Switch earlier this year, has six different rights holders, including competitors from Nintendo and Xbox. No One Lives Forever has three rights holders and according to the study None of them are quite sure who owns what. Porting games to new consoles can also be expensive, as Josh Fairhurst, head of Limited Run Games, appreciates A single port can cost up to $350,000.

The result of all these difficulties is this Only the most popular retro games are re-released on modern platforms, while the rest are available in old game stores, emulators or digital files. The struggle for legitimate access to classic games is also reflected in other media, such as platforms like HBO Max and Disney+ They eliminate hundreds of programs in exchange for tax benefits.

Modern services like Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch Online offer access to older games for a standard fee. However, Many more games are still tied to outdated hardware and collector demand has pushed up prices.

We hope that this study will lead to changes.

The organization Video Game History Foundation was founded in 2017 by Frank Cifaldi and is one of the leading organizations the preservation of gaming as a culturally significant art form. He commissioned the study to advocate for making games available in libraries and other official archives, which the Entertainment Software Association has campaigned against. about the Digital Age Copyright Act.

“We hope that this study will lead to changes,” wrote Lewin. “And that video game preservation will be strengthened before we lose any more”.

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