Permanency in Videogames

Permanency in Videogames

  In the dead of night people think about a lot of things. I think about the extinction of video games. In their native Japan, forgotten video game cartridges are left to yellow with age in the bargain bins of Akihabara’s second hand stores. Nowadays the thought of a physical cartridge containing a console video game is strange, and with the coming change in generation the mere concept of purchasing a physical disc in a box will be laughable in a matter of years. As you hold a magazine in your hands, I hope the irony isn’t lost on you. But with the transition from buying physical disks in a shopping centre, to queuing downloads from online stores with exclusive pre order DLC, our understanding of video game ownership changes. We appreciate the digital purchase of games is tied to our online accounts, and that we are reliant on two things. The first is that our console will remain intact and safe from harm (a terrifying concept given the prevalence of hardware failures this generation). The second is a belief that the servers hosting our content will remain alive and well years after the fanfare for that generation has gone.   The truth is, when the current generation’s servers spin down and the lights go off, we have no idea what will happen to an entire generation of video games. The fate of almost a decade of digital games is in the hands of the publishers who will make rational economic decisions about what makes it to the next platforms. Games that fall into awkward licensing quagmires and those...