Sony’s Decision to Halt Disc Production Poses Significant Threat to Game Preservation

A new report suggests that Sony is considering winding down production of Blu-Ray discs, aiming to eventually cease the production of physical media altogether. This would have a significant impact on cinephiles, as those who prefer physical copies have become accustomed to smaller distributors like Criterion, Arrow, or Kino.

It is expected that physical movies will continue to exist as a niche product, but the potential cessation of Blu-Ray disc production poses a threat to physical games on Sony consoles, as they have been the primary physical format for Sony games since the PS3. This shift would have implications for game preservation, particularly because the infrastructure for boutique publishers of physical editions in the gaming industry is not as well-established as it is in the film industry.

While certain publishers like Limited Run and Digital Eclipse have ventured into physical releases for games, they tend to focus on limited or older titles. The end of physical releases could potentially make all games vulnerable to becoming unavailable, regardless of their scale or popularity.

The disappearance of big, popular games has already occurred, as evidenced by the delisting of PT following the cancellation of Silent Hills. This trend highlights the precariousness of digital-only games and the potential risks associated with the all-digital future for the preservation of games.

The closure of digital storefronts and the discontinuation of support for certain games have already rendered some titles unplayable, accentuating the vulnerability of digital-only games. An all-digital future presents challenges for preservationists, who may need to save entire consoles to ensure the preservation of games, rather than individual copies.

Ultimately, an all-digital future could compromise the preservation of games through traditional means and potentially limit access to certain titles in the long run.

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