Developer Dylan Cuthbert has rescued one of his team’s video games from an online death before. And he’s about to have to do it again, thanks to Google Stadia’s pending January 2023 shutdown.
Why it matters: Online connected games are facing extinction regularly now.
- It was less of a problem in the old days, when most games ran on cartridges or discs.
- But games that players can only get through downloads or, as is the case with Stadia, can only be played over streaming connections, may go away when companies shut down the servers that offer them.
Details: Cuthbert, who runs Kyoto, Japan-based Q-Games, hopes to rescue PixelJunk Raiders, a March 2021 exclusive for the Stadia service, and is actively looking for a publisher to bring it to other platforms.
- Until there are buyers, Raiders won’t be playable anywhere when Stadia shuts down.
- Cuthbert has reason to be hopeful. It just came off the successful rescue of Q-Games’ The Tomorrow Children, which was released as a connected online game published by Sony in 2016, but became unavailable when Sony shut down its servers in 2017. In 2021, Q-Games announced that had secured the rights to the game and re-released it with updates last month.
What they are saying: “History is littered with online games that you can’t play anymore, and it’s a shame,” Cuthbert tells Axios via email.
- “It’s almost like you don’t just need emulators for the hardware itself to run older games, but you also need emulators for the state of the internet and server hub technology as it was back then.
- “I think we as an industry will need to find a way to solve this problem.”
- Cuthbert would like to see developer contracts include a clause that reverts the rights to the game back to the studio if their servers go down. “I think this type of guarantee should be required in the future,” he said. “I was lucky and diligent to get the rights back to The Tomorrow Children, but it was hard work and it took me many years. Other titles just aren’t so lucky and disappear into publisher limbo forever.”
Whats Next: Even if Raiders is rescued, there are a handful of other Stadia-exclusive titles that are at risk of disappearing.
- The dangers of deactivation don’t end there, even for Q-Games.
- The studio released a wave of download-only games for the Nintendo DS in late 2009 and 2010. Those games remained available through the online store for the DS’s successor, the 3DS, but will no longer be purchasable when the 3DS store is open. closed. down in March 2023.
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