Sony is reportedly building a game preservation team. The division likely comes off the heels of the new upcoming PlayStation Plus platform, though exact details on the team are sparse.
Garrett Fredley, a former build engineer for mobile developer Kabam, is joining Sony for its game preservation team. In a recent tweet first spotted by Video Games Chronicle (seen below), Fredley announced the role.
Today is my first day as a Senior Build Engineer at @PlayStation, working as one of their initial hires for the newly created Preservation team!
Game Preservation was my first career passion, so I'm ecstatic that I get to go back to those roots 😊
— Garrett Fredley (@SomeCronzaGuy) April 25, 2022
Fredley later followed up with a video from GDC 2019 where he discusses game preservation and the work he did with EA. He also states that his current “work is similar, although larger in scope.”
As expected, Fredley didn’t reveal specifically what this new team is working on. However, as the division’s title suggests, it’s likely tied to the preservation of PlayStation titles.
In the near future, Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus subscription service will offer new tiers. These include perks such as access to classic PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP titles. While many supported games (which are largely unannounced) will be downloadable, PS3 games are only available to stream.
Last summer, Sony shuttered the PSP storefront and initially aimed to close the PS3 and Vita marketplace. However, due to an overwhelmingly negative response from community, those plans were halted.
The narrative surrounding Sony and game presentation has slowly shifted over the past few years. Back in 2017, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan made a comment regarding older Gran Turismo titles on previous PlayStation consoles. “The PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?” Ryan has since clarified that the quote was in respect to making contemporary games feel modern. However, the messaging turned the heads of those hoping Sony would take game preservation more seriously.
The extent of game preservation differs significantly between different console manufacturers. For example, Microsoft offers extensive backwards compatibility across all generations, including the original Xbox, and game preservation has been a focal point for many years. Nintendo, on the other hand, only offers select titles from NES, SNES, and N64 as a part of its Nintendo Switch Online and accompanying Expansion Pack subscription service.
Image credit: PlayStation