The Library of Congress has launched a new ruling, a large one at 85 pages, that makes many changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. While the changes are all over the place, some of them pertain specifically to video games and make changes that preservationists consider a huge win for the future of video game history.
In 2015, the Library of Congress allowed cracking of sorts for single-player video games that needed to check in on a server level in order to run, for the purpose of museum archiving, preservation, and research. However, that didn’t apply to multiplayer games. Now it does.
There are caveats. Preservationists will need to have both legal copies of the games they archive, as well as access to server code. This may be difficult to obtain in many cases. Also, the games running in this manner can’t leave the premises of say, a library or museum, meaning things like “pirate servers” are still not legal. But theoretically, this would allow preservation for things like old versions of World of Warcraft, long-dead MMOs like City of Heroes, so on and so forth.