Mobile Mavens: Can we preserve classic mobile games forever? | Pocket

Games Preservation: Ensuring the Future of Mobile Games

Games preservation is a critical issue in the gaming industry. With rapidly evolving technology and the constant release of new games, many beloved titles often disappear from online stores or become unplayable due to changes in rights, operating systems, or developer decisions. This leaves players who have invested time and money in these games unable to access them. We spoke to industry professionals about the challenges of game preservation, specifically for mobile games. Is there hope for preserving these games, or is it just a pipedream?

Preserving Niche and Big Games

For niche games with a small player base, the chances of publishers keeping them alive are slim. On the other hand, big titles are usually supported for a longer period, with continuous updates and added content. However, every game eventually reaches its plateau and enters a stagnation phase where costs remain high, but revenue decreases. This natural process raises questions about preserving the game’s heritage and fan base.

The Challenges of Mobile Game Preservation

Mobile game preservation, in particular, presents unique challenges. Many games remain available for download despite not receiving updates for years. However, this does not guarantee their long-term accessibility. One solution could be backward compatibility, where app stores support outdated games, but this is challenging due to publishers’ lack of interest and resources.

Involving Google and Apple

Google and Apple could play a significant role in mobile game preservation. These companies, which take a percentage of revenue from games, could store players’ items and valuable in-game possessions. Creating a Games Archive where players can download titles with limited functionality would be a step towards preserving game developer heritage and respecting players.

Preserving Games through Cloud Storage

Cloud storage could also be used for game preservation by allowing players to export their in-game items and create Game Galleries. This would prevent the loss of cherished items and enable players to access their valuable collections in the future.

The Dilemma of Saving Mobile Games

While preserving mobile games seems crucial due to their cultural and historical significance, technological advancements like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) introduce new considerations. As developers embrace these technologies, preservation efforts must expand beyond just the games themselves. Preserving development processes, design philosophies, and cultural influences ensures that future developers have access to a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

The Journey of Gaming Preservation

Preserving mobile games is an ever-evolving process that pays tribute to the past and shapes the future. As the gaming industry navigates change, the preservation of its rich heritage inspires innovation and drives the ecosystem forward. By valuing the preservation of mobile games and their progress, we honor the profound impact these games have on our culture and propel the industry to new horizons.


1. “Game Preservation & Conservation – An Introduction” by Jorge Madrid and Natalia Portillo, GDC

2. “The Preservation of Video Games” by Kim Pallister, Intel Software Adrenaline