Endangered large

Recordings of game playing and e-sports that show how games are experienced and played, especially multi-user online games and tournaments.

Group: Gaming

Trend: Improving

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2018

Previous category: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.


Material uploaded to Amazon Twitch, game channels on YouTube and other playback services

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Controversies around intellectual property rights; lack of offline backup; changing business model of providers; limited recognition of cultural and historic value of game play; over dependence on goodwill subsidy of ad-hoc community; lack of preservation know-how at service providers; dependency on bespoke hardware or interfaces.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup; managed intellectual property rights; players and audiences invested in data

2019 Review

This is a subset of an entry made in 2017 for ‘Gaming’ which the Jury has decided to split into four more discrete entries. It has overlaps with an entry on Consumer Social Media except this category specifically draws attention to gaming and e-sports. It is a subset of both. By including as a separate entry,the Jury encourages greater consideration of the cultural and historic value which such recordings are likely to acquire as well as the technical and economic challenges to preservation. It also notes that this entry is categorised as a lower risk than the entry in 2017: but this is a function of splitting that entry into components.

Additional Jury Comments

Vulnerable is an appropriate classification. The content is not particularly distinctive in technical terms but there are aggravating circumstances, namely an almost complete reliance on commercial third parties (Google/YouTube and Amazon/Twitch) for the infrastructure around video capture and hosting. Copyright claims on video content by publishers such as Nintendo - while less prevalent now than a few years ago - also complicate things. The significance of loss here is high because recordings, including commentary, and onscreen interactions with other players, seem likely to be the best way of preserving the experience of playing certain games at certain times. We are familiar with the challenges of preserving video, but we need to think about how established approaches will work in the context of the aggravating circumstances outlined above. There is a degree of urgency associated with working out how (legally and technically) preserving the materials that they hold may be preserved.

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