In a Gamasutra article about the preservation of game history, Junction Point Studios' Warren Spector commented on both the importance of saving the industry's past for posterity and what's holding us back.
"Where the early history of film and television has been largely lost thanks to industry indifference and academic ignorance, we have a chance to preserve our history, before our pioneers pass away, our design documents, marketing materials and beta builds disintegrate or get trashed, and our hardware deteriorates to the point of inoperability."
"The biggest threat is indifference," Spector believes. "Most people making games see what they do as ephemeral, as not worthy of preservation." Money is also a concern: "These institutions are fighting for survival in a down economy and an age of cuts to academia. They need support. If they get it, our past is secure. If they don't, our history will be lost like that of so many media that came before us."
Though most consumers won't have the necessary access to save almost-lost source code, for instance, that's not to say we can't help in our own way.