We've got good news folks, game preservation is finally on Sony's menu.
For years, fans criticized Sony for paying its classics little attention. Save for the occasional remaster and remake, Sony never really cared to preserve some of its best exclusives. But, it appears that this is all changing.
According to a newly hired senior build engineer at PlayStation, the studio has formed a team dedicated to preserving games. Garrett Fredley confirmed the news on Twitter, saying that he is one of the first hires for the new team. Fredley later elaborated on the hiring on LinkedIn, explaining that games preservation is his "first career passion" and enthusiastically exclaiming that he wants to help "ensure our industry's history isn't forgotten!"
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
To be fair, Fredley's hiring doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see delisted older PlayStation games come back. Fredley's time with Electronic Arts from 2016 to 2019 saw him take point on "preservation efforts for the FIFA franchise, resulting in the complete archival of multiple titles." It's worth noting that a lot of FIFA games are no longer available to purchase, which would suggest that Fredley's time in PlayStation could see similar results.
What is interesting here is that the team's formation coincides with Sony's new PlayStation Plus, which just got a new and earlier release date in select markets. Eagle-eyed fans also saw a handful of Syphon Filter games being re-rated for the PS4 and the PS5.
All signs point to PlayStation Studios' effort to shed its former image, but only time will tell if this is truly the case. It's good that Sony is forming a preservation team. Most likely, this move is meant to benefit the Premium tier of the incoming PS Plus revamp, which includes a "catalog of beloved classic games available in both streaming and download options from the original PlayStation, PS2, and PSP generations." However, we're hoping that Sony has grander plans for its treasure trove of iconic titles.
Compared to Microsoft, Sony's interest in backward compatibility and games preservation is nearly a decade behind. Microsoft's backward compatibility program started first in 2015 and has only gotten better since. Microsoft added 70 more games last November, but the company also warned that this might be the last batch for a while due to licensing issues.