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Shutdown of LittleBigPlanet’s servers raises game preservation concerns

According to the official LittleBigPlanet Twitter account, the PlayStation 3 servers for LittleBigPlanet, LittleBigPlanet 2, LittleBigPlanet 3, and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita are permanently shutting down. This announcement follows an extended downtime for the PS4 servers for LittleBigPlanet 3. The LittleBigPlanet games on the PS3 will still be playable, but online support for the games will no longer be available to players.

An update on the LittleBigPlanet server and online services: pic.twitter.com/vUrvHcZvIs

— Sackboy: A Big Adventure | LittleBigPlanet (@LittleBigPlanet) September 13, 2021

LittleBigPlanet originally came out in 2008 and has featured user-created content since the beginning. With the demise of the PS3 servers, an era comes to a close. Fortunately, this does not mean the end for these user-created levels. LittleBigPlanet 3 players on PS4 will have access to all of the user-generated content found on the PS3 servers for the older games in the series. But it does mean that the content from the PS Vita version will not cross that threshold.

With the end of these servers, the conversation about video game preservation has come back in full force. Yes, the online content can still be played, but not in its original games. This also means that certain achievements can no longer be earned in these games, making 100% completion impossible. The content is technically preserved but at the cost of gutting these older games. Are these games actually being preserved if you cannot play them in their totality without literally playing a different game?

The flip side to this argument is how much effort and cost do we expect developers to expend to preserve their games? Resources have now been loosened up with the shutdowns of the PS3 servers and the PS Vita server. One can only imagine the cost it took to maintain these servers, which can now be allocated to something else.

If you have been invested in the game preservation discussion, the LittleBigPlanet servers issue is an excellent litmus test to see what you value more: The preservation of the game in its totality, or the content itself.

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Andrew Zucosky
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