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. To better inform these discussions, the Video Game History Foundation and Software Preservation Network gathered evidence about what portion of historical games are actually still in commercial distribution. They believe this is the first major study to analyze the availability rates for a broad sample of historical games in this manner. The results are stark: Only 13 percent of classic video games published in the United States are currently in release (n = 1500, ±2.5%, 95% CI). These low numbers are consistent across platform ecosystems and time periods. Troublingly, the reissue rate drops below 3 percent for games released prior to 1985—the foundational era of video games. 

Join this talk hosted by the Open Preservation Foundation and featuring Software Preservation Network volunteers Phil Salvador, Library Director at the Video Game History Foundation and Kendra Albert, Clinical Instructor from the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic to discuss the report’s findings and the possibilities of using this research method and approach to advocate for both resourcing the preservation of, and shaping the law around, other types of at-risk archival material. 

When: Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 20:00 UTC |
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Where: Register Here


Kendra Albert, Clinical Instructor, Cyberlaw Clinic, Harvard Law School

Phil Salvador, Library Director, The Video Game History Foundation

James Newman, Senior Curator, National Videogame Museum and Research Professor in Media, Bath Spa University


2 minutes: Audience welcome and introduction (Georgia)

3 minutes: Panelist Introduction (Georgia will hand over to the panelists to introduce themselves)

30-35 minutes: Panelist Discussion

15/20 minutes: Audience Q&A (Georgia will help moderate the zoom chat)

5 minutes: Closing remarks, summary and thank you (Georgia)

  • Type: Webinar
  • Date: 10.10.23
  • Venue: Zoom Webinar


  • Cost:free
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