According to the Video Game History Foundation (VGHF), approximately 87% of classic games are considered “critically endangered”.
The Video Game History Foundation in collaboration with the Software Preservation Network released a study on the amount of “classic games” in circulation on contemporary platforms.
For their purposes, the researchers defined a “classic game” as any game released prior to 2010.
To illustrate their point, the VGHF compared modern video game preservation through the lens of film; explaining that:
Imagine if the only way to watch Titanic was to find a used VHS tape, and maintain your own vintage equipment so that you could still watch it. And what if no library, not even the Library of Congress, could do any better — they could keep and digitize that VHS of Titanic, but you’d have to go all the way there to watch it. It sounds crazy, but that’s the reality we live in with video games, a $180 billion industry, while the games and their history disappear.
The goal of the study is to urge lawmakers to reconsider provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that makes game preservation difficult if not impossible for some titles.
You can read the study yourself here.