Does Sony’s recent scandal hint at the beginning of the end of video game preservation?
Sony PlayStation classic titles have been reportedly “expiring” on the PlayStation Network, causing several retro options to be non-purchasable on Sony’s platform. Owners aren’t safe either, as this recent change has rendered their already purchased copies unplayable.
Sources on social media and reputable gaming sites chimed in on the recent expiration of some PlayStation classics. The most notable example is the legendary Chrono Cross, a JRPG game seen as one of the pioneers for developers in this genre. According to a report on Kotaku, Chrono Cross now has an expiration date of December 31st, 1969. That’s roughly 30 years BEFORE Square released the game.
Games expired before they were made
So did @PlayStation expire the PSOne Classics versions of #ChronoCross and #ChronoTrigger by setting the date on new downloads to 12/31/1969? This is preventing me from playing my purchased copies on Vita and PS3. @ModernVintageG @dark1x pic.twitter.com/wxRebNIZWh— Christopher Foose (@FooseTV) April 8, 2022
This issue isn’t unique to Chrono Cross, as owners of other classic games (Final Fantasy Origins, Rune Factory: Oceans, Chrono Trigger, and others) have shared similar findings. The following are examples of PlayStation users who were affected by the Sony 1969 expiration:
Video game preservation experts had long warned of occurrences like this back when digital gaming became many gamers’ primary buying method. Before the most recent console generations, everything was bought and stored. Gamers owned their video games, like how movie buffs and music lovers owned their tapes, disks, and vinyl records.
The right to play video games?
Now, gamers can only purchase the right to play video games. Many cynics fear there is no telling when any game we “own” will cease to be playable, and this recent play by Sony makes that grisly nightmare a near reality. Sony executives have yet to make any formal comments about the situation.
Fans of the company argue there may be some glitch in the system. That may be possible considering Sony’s roll-out of their new Xbox Game Pass-like subscription service. The back-end developers could have mixed up some code while integrating those older games into the new service.
It’s very well possible they are quietly working to resolve the issue. However, it’s all speculation until the community receives word from the multi-billion dollar company.