A Satellaview research blog.

Deja Vu: Old problems are new again in the world of “digital rights”.

Time to pad for updates with a write-up. This can be seen as a bit of a follow up to this old writing from 2011.

You folks may have noticed how I have been attempting to use Twitter to communicate with Japanese Satellaview fans lately.
Today, I’d like to highlight a comment from a bit back here!

Yep, the Xbox One was directly compared to the Satellaview! Now, I’m going to assume for the time being that the readers of the blog are following the new consoles enough to know what was announced about the Xbox One lately, and, well, I can see some of the relations.

And I can also see how scary it is. In fact, as of this writing, Xbox One is essentially my worst fears about next-gen realized, with heavy DRM requirements on a systematic level, absurd online checks… I won’t go too much into the other factors that aren’t related to the Satellaview, thankfully for you readers. It’s simply the worst kind of large-scale, systematic DRM since the suicide battery on the CPS2.

It’s scary to think how the One can systematically render your games unplayable merely by being offline.
But even worse, I think the REALLY frustrating thing about this is lurking around on various forums and seeing so many people brush this off because “emulators will be around by the time we want to revisit these.”

Y’know, in spite of how long it took to make fully hardware-accurate SNES emulation or likewise for Sega-based systems. In spite of the fact that Xbox 360 and PS3 still do not have emulators… and heck, the 64DD doesn’t either, last I checked.

Oh, and of course, the fact that I’m here, still digging around for Satellaview ROMs 18 years after the fact.

That’s not even getting into stuff like Family Basic Data Cassettes having basically no western emulation presence whatsoever… And that’s one that doesn’t even have DRM or service issues; it’s just archaic media!

Let me once again bring up the Sega Channel. That was a pretty nice service at the time, but when it shut down in 1997, there was suddenly no trace of it left to recover for the thousands of users it had. Years later, there’s still people searching for titles such as “Garfield: The Lost Levels” which were released exclusively via the service.
Come to think of it, Sega Game Toshokan in Japan basically had the same ordeal. These were only slightly mitigated with Sega keeping storage of their Megadrive library for future rereleases. (Which they at least do, unlike Nintendo in regard to Satellaview.)

How about Microsoft? Will they be willing to do the same? Considering that it’d be easier for them to outright bail from video games if they lose this gen, probably not!

I will tell you right now and that when Xbox One’s servers shuts down and takes all it’s games with it, I will probably still be working on getting Satellaview content. If I’m not, then the most likely thing I moved on to would be either 64DD or Family Basic. I can’t take the time to grab the One’s library and hack it up or whatever is needed to make the stuff play.

I’m sure many of the folks who are credited with emulation breakthroughs for retro-game systems feel the same way about whether they’d bother with the Xbox One. Do you actually know for a fact that anyone will be willing to make up for Microsoft’s errors? Furthermore, do you know that one person is all it’s gonna take? Older consoles can have emulators developed by one person, but with the complications of next-gen, it’s possible it may require an actual team of people!

Feel free to comment and give your own input.
Also, spread this information to other forums and communities. So many people don’t realize how the precedent has already been set, and history is going to repeat itself!

It is a very hazardous time to be a gamer.

3 thoughts on Deja Vu: Old problems are new again in the world of “digital rights”.

  1. I want to just say thanks first, for keeping this blog up and running and being so heavy on preserving the Satellaview. I also feel it’s important and wish there were more ways I could help somehow, but at least I can give a long overdue thank you.

    On this topic though, seriously, as dumb or even dramatic as it might sound, I find it extremely upsetting from an artistic and cultural standpoint what we’ve lost to time because of corporate stupidity. Plus the obvious, they’re games, they’re fun to play! But once again on the serious side, games go beyond games. Media of all forms deserves to be preserved, even that which is unpopular, because it’s still culturally, at least with in gaming culture but I’d argue as a whole, important and we shouldn’t have to just read about it one day. We should be able to experience it fully. And not just the Super Mario Worlds of gaming, even though I’m glad popular titles are well preserved. We even have a huge advantage today over years before, and that is storage space coming dime a dozen and the ability to back up exact copies. The gaming industry can be preserving it all easily, yet still aren’t. Obviously, gaming is a business, but it needs to be treated less like one in regards to preservation and history.

    The Xbox One’s DRM is crap at face value, but it also bothers me in this way because we could literally lose an entire generation of games. They could have a failsafe of some sort, but how many times before has the gaming industry worried about that?

    And emulators? Heck, just like you said. We still lack accurate emulators, or emulators AT ALL, for various retro systems that we have more than enough power to emulate these days, if not accurately. The Xbox 360 isn’t going to be emulated anytime soon, not even the original Xbox is, and even when/if the 360 is emulated, think as well of all the DLC we’ll lose, the patches (thanks to 360’s way of patching), the XBLA titles, and even more so, what about the DLC exclusive to Sony or vice versa? Even skin packs and junky DLC I’d hate to see lost. I don’t want to be all negative here, but other than PC and Nintendo to some extent, I don’t feel preservation is going to get any better with these new kinds of DRM emerging. All we can hope is that more jump on the bandwagon and force them to change it before release, or they flick the switch to allow offline gaming at the end of Xbox One’s life. Even then, we’ll still require hardware which will eventually break, and we’ll lose a ton of content, if not for hackers possibly breaking it open. Too bad that’s mostly for piracy reasons, but at least in some regards content may be semi-preserved. I’m certainly hoping for a change as well, as this is a part of history that I don’t want to see repeat either.

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