A Tweet from PlayStation senior build engineer Garrett Fredley has got the internet buzzing. The game developer revealed he has begun a new job at a new Game Preservation division inside PlayStation; Tweeting he has begun “working as one of their initial hires for the newly created Preservation team!”
It appears Sony is finally getting serious about preserving its fantastic back catalogue of PlayStation games. For years Sony’s approach to game preservation has been lacklustre. In 2018 Sony did release the PlayStation Classic Console, as found in our best retro gaming consoles guide, but this was met with muted reviews due to some poor emulation and a mixed games list.
News of an actual Game Preservation division inside Sony PlayStation is welcome. It looks like Sony is finally taking its heritage seriously, and making steps to safeguard its classic games and their design. This could mean classics such as Vib Ribbon (below) that turned your music, played from PlayStation’s CD drive, into a game level, could finally officially resurface properly.
This news comes on the back of PlayStation announcing a new subscription service that will combine its PS Plus offering (online play and monthly free games) with its streaming platform PS Now (some back catalogue games). The new PS Plus launches from June 1 in Japan, then the US on June 13, and finally Europe on June 22.
The signs are that Sony is finally getting serious about its classic games and delivering proper emulation to owners of PS4 and PS5, and even PC gamers via the new PS Plus service. The most expensive ‘Premium’ option will enable gamers to play classic PS3, PS2, PS1, and PSP games.
Sony does currently offer PS4, PS3, and PS2 games as part of PlayStation Now, but these have been limited and PS1 games are mostly absent (only those emulated for PS3 or PS2 have been offered). If nothing else, now Sony has discovered the value of retro gaming, as its PS Plus Premium offer is priced at $17.99 / £13.49 per month, $49.99 / £39.99 for three months, or $119.99 / £99.99 per year.
For game designers and retro gaming fans, however, the value will be in rediscovering some genuine classic games – Final Fantasy Tactics, G-Police and Bishi Bashi Special, perhaps – and knowing Sony is prepared to protect its heritage properly. One sting in the tail of the PS Plus news is PS3 games are still streaming only, perhaps Garrett Fredley’s first job is to build a PS3 emulator for PS5? We hope so.
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