PlayStation Creates New Video Game Preservation Team

Indie developer Garrett Fredley revealed on Twitter yesterday that he has joined PlayStation as a senior build engineer, and one of the first hires for the company’s newly created preservation team. PlayStation has not made any official announcements about the team, but Fredley went on to say that game preservation has long been one of his career passions, and that he’s “ecstatic” to return to that. Fredley gave a talk at GDC in 2019 about the importance of game preservation, when he worked for Electronic Arts. He says that his role at PlayStation will be similar “although larger in scope.”

Fredley’s initial Tweet about his role at PlayStation can be found embedded below.

It’s no secret that the video game industry has been notoriously bad at preserving its own history. Promotional material, development notes, concept art, and even entire games have been lost to time over the last four decades, and that problem has been exacerbated in the digital era. PlayStation has notably been behind the curve on game preservation. Xbox has made older games and backwards compatibility a big part of its selling point, while Nintendo has always been good about maintaining its older materials, even if they don’t immediately see public release; a 2020 “gigaleak” from Nintendo revealed that the company is sitting on entirely finished Game Boy games that have never received a full release.

PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan made headlines in 2017 when he downplayed the importance of backwards compatibility in an interview with Time. Ryan pointed to PS1 and PS2 games saying that they “looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?” Ryan walked back those comments in an interview with Axios last year, and the existence of a preservation team could mark a shift in philosophy for the company. Fredley states that it’s still to be determined whether he’ll have a direct role in emulation of older games, and it’s still early to say exactly what the preservation team will bring to the table. Still, for fans of older PlayStation games, this certainly seems like good news!

Are you hopeful about PlayStation’s new focus on preservation? Would you like to see the company focus more on making older games available? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!

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