Hideo Kojima speaks out against all-digital future for video games

If you’re worried about physical copies of video games and other media going the way of the dodo the creator of Metal Gear agrees with you.

Music and books long ago embraced digital distribution and between faster broadband and the pandemic it’s now much more common to watch a movie via streaming than at a cinema or via a DVD, but as convenient as that may be not everyone thinks it’s an unequivocally good idea.

The central problem is that you don’t own anything when you buy something digitally, you’re essentially just renting it – even if it is theoretically forever. But forever can be cut short if a company goes bust, its severs break down, or it loses the licence for a particular game or piece of content.

That’s exactly what Hideo Kojima has been worrying about on Twitter recently, where he said: ‘Eventually, even digital data will no longer be owned by individuals on their own initiative. Whenever there is a major change or accident in the world, in a country, in a government, in an idea, in a trend, access to it may suddenly be cut off.’

‘We will not be able to freely access the movies, books, and music that we have loved. I would be a have-not. That’s what I’m afraid of. This is not greed’, he added.

It’s not clear if anything in particular brought on this concern but Kojima is famously obsessed by movies and the pandemic has certainly sped up the inevitable migration from watching them at theatres and via physical media to just streaming them.

The problem with that is that no one streaming service has every movie and there’s a danger that more obscure ones could become even harder to get hold of if they got out of print on DVD and Blu-ray.

What will be interesting is if any of these concerns about digital content form the basis of a future game, as he still hasn’t announced a new title beyond the upcoming Death Stranding director’s cut.

That may well be the case, as his next game is rumoured to be an Xbox exclusive which will make extensive use of cloud processing, and clearly Kojima is aware of what that means for the game’s longevity.

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