Update (27/4/22): This story has of course done the rounds this week, with many PlayStation fans excited about the prospect of game preservation meaning more legacy games hitting PS Plus Premium. In response, Garrett Fredley has made attempts to clarify his new role at the company.
The senior build engineer has provided a link to a GDC talk he held a few years ago, discussing his preservation work at EA. In it, Fredley explains what this all actually means. In very basic terms, preservation is the process of ensuring all aspects of a game and its creation are not only archived properly, but kept in a state in which it could feasibly be restored and brought back in the future. Obviously, he goes into much more detail in the video, but that's the gist. It seems like an incredibly complicated and technical job.
Fredley's responsibilities at PlayStation are "similar, although larger in scope," he says. We imagine that he and the other preservation staff will be working to archive Sony's back catalogue, but not necessarily for redistribution. It's impossible to know at this stage. He signs off by saying he's unsure if he'll be involved in emulation of any kind. It's all interesting stuff, anyway — best of luck to Fredley in his new role!
Original Story: A freshly hired engineer at PlayStation has revealed the existence of a game preservation division within the company.
Garrett Fredley took to social media to announce his new role, making mention of his new department at the platform holder. "Today is my first day as a Senior Build Engineer for PlayStation, working as one of their initial hires for the newly created Preservation team," Fredley says on activity:6924387563638063104/">LinkedIn. He explains that preserving games was his initial passion, and that he's glad to be moving to this role having gained experience elsewhere. "Let's go and ensure our industry's history isn't forgotten!"
The timing of this is interesting, given Sony's upcoming PS Plus Premium tier, which is set to include hundreds of titles from legacy platforms. Has this new preservation team been created to concentrate on bringing classic software onto this service? It's hard to say exactly.
As pointed out by VGC, Fredley's previous role at EA says he "solely led the preservation efforts for the FIFA franchise, resulting in the complete archival of multiple titles." Obviously, the publisher hasn't made a tonne of old FIFA games available to buy, so it seems game preservation could also simply mean archiving source code, art, and so on to ensure it isn't lost forever.
So, we don't know definitively whether this new team at PlayStation will be restoring old games to run on PS5 and PS4, or if it will simply be recovering code and assets to stash away for safekeeping. Again, though, the fact Sony will be including PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP games in its top tier of PS Plus lines up rather nicely.
What do you think about this? Is Sony's new game preservation team working to bring more classic games to modern hardware, or is it something a little less exciting? Discuss in the comments section below.