Red Dead Redemption quietly disappears from modern PlayStation consoles, reigniting preservation debates

A shootout in Red Dead Redemption
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Red Dead Redemption has been delisted from PS Now and PS Plus, ending the only way to play Rockstar's cowboy classic on modern PlayStation platforms.

The PS3 version of Red Dead Redemption was added to the PS Now streaming service back in 2016, and this version of the game was made available through PS Plus Premium earlier this year. However, as videotech notes on Twitter, the game has been quietly delisted.

Many Rockstar titles have cycled through various subscription services, including PS Plus and Xbox Game Pass, but Red Dead Redemption is a special case. Since it was only available via cloud streaming, there's no way to purchase it and own it as part of your normal digital game library - it's just gone.

The only official way to play Red Dead Redemption on a modern platform is through backwards compatibility on Xbox One or an Xbox Series console, either with the physical disc or through the $30 digital version still available for purchase.

The PS3 version is still playable through RPCS3, though there you'll need a physical copy of the original game and a compatible PC blu-ray drive, or a willingness to dig into piracy - not to mention a supremely beefy PC to run the emulator.

It's all a bit of a mess, and it shouldn't be this confusing to play one of the most beloved games in the history of the medium. Xbox's backwards compatibility initiative hasn't been perfect, restricted as it is to whitelisted games, but it's been a step in the right direction. Sony has stepped back from its historic dismissiveness of preserving its classic library, but its recent attempts to bring forward its classic library have been fraught with problems ranging from questionable emulation to small game selections.

In other words, this quiet Red Dead delisting has effectively encapsulated every major issue around keeping old games playable for modern audiences. Changing technology makes backwards compatibility challenging, leaving it up to publishers whether or not to put the work in modernizing these games. Old hardware eventually fails, meaning that keeping a PS3 is not a long-term preservation solution. And fan-built emulation is fraught with legal issues and getting more and more challenging to get right for more modern platforms.

A modern Red Dead Redemption remaster was rumored for some time, though more recent reports have suggested that the response to the GTA Definitive Editions ended those plans.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.