11 votes

Microsoft gaming chief calls for industry-wide game preservation

2 comments

  1. [2]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    I really want to believe what Spencer is saying, and that he might influence Microsoft, and indirectly the rest of the industry, to adopt better practices towards preserving video games and...

    I really want to believe what Spencer is saying, and that he might influence Microsoft, and indirectly the rest of the industry, to adopt better practices towards preserving video games and enabling their indefinite distribution, but I can't.

    If Spencer, and by extension the amalgamation of individuals known as Microsoft, actually cared about game preservation across the entire industry, and not just game preservation insofar as Microsoft's platforms that they control and profit from, then there would be work being done to directly or indirectly make Microsoft's now unsupported consoles easier for third parties, not just Microsoft, to emulate.

    In fact, if Microsoft actually cared about game preservation, it would be advantageous for them to make the job of third-party emulators easier, because it would be the emulator projects, not Microsoft, that would have to navigate the fucked up world of US copyright law.

    That means, even indirectly, supporting a project such as Xenia.

    Instead, what I suspect Spencer is actually talking about or envisioning, and what we might actually see in the future, is a shift in the industry that encourages developers, publishers, and console manufacturers to enter into agreements for the extended availability of titles on current and future console hardware. That isn't true game preservation though. True game preservation is work that allows games to run on general purpose hardware, not just "handing the baton" down to the newest version of your console.

    Let's be real here: Spencer wants "industry wide game preservation" because it will enable Microsoft and Xbox to generate money from old games indefinitely, as old titles continue to be re-released for their latest hardware. That's a lot different from actual game preservation.

    So maybe I'm just not being as charitable as I ought to be, but I think Spencer is trying to take advantage of the phrase "game preservation", a universally agreeable idea, something just and ethical, and twisting it instead into something palatable and profitable for Microsoft.

    6 votes
    1. vord
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Microsoft, here's an easy step in good faith you could make: Release Freelancer under a permissive free license. Preferably with source code. The title is de-facto dead, but with a small and...

      Microsoft, here's an easy step in good faith you could make:

      Release Freelancer under a permissive free license. Preferably with source code.

      The title is de-facto dead, but with a small and passionate community. It's not available for sale anywhere. You have nothing to lose except possibly putting some substance behind your PR.

      If Microsoft won't take steps to preserve titles that they own and don't even need emulation, I certainly can't trust that they have any genuine interest in preservation.

      3 votes