About the Survey
Video games are part of our cultural history. But while the video game industry and cultural heritage institutions agree that video games should be preserved for both entertainment and study, there is disagreement about whether the commercial market preempts the need for libraries, museums, and archives to expand their preservation activities. This survey seeks to better inform discussions of these complex issues by gathering empirical evidence about the state of the video game reissue market in the United States and what portion of historical games are actually still in commercial distribution.
The results are stark: Only 13 percent of historical video games published in the United States are currently in release. These low numbers are consistent across platform ecosystems and time periods, dropping below 3 percent for games released before 1985. These results raise questions about whether the commercial market alone can adequately preserve the medium of video games, particularly for the needs of researchers.
Survey of the Video Game Reissue Market in the United States was written by Phil Salvador, and copublished by the Video Game History Foundation and the Software Preservation Network.