Submitted by knifefight 931d ago | opinion piece

Backwards Compatibility Is Important, And Could Win The Next Generation

Speaking to gamers and developers alike, Heath Hindman of Game Revolution says: "Gaming is important. It's an important medium that has great impact on our lives, our culture, and our history; we see more evidence of it every day. If we discard backward compatibility, we disregard part of our history, and part of our passion. What was once only for social outcasts and tech "geeks" is now popular culture, and dare I say, rightly so. In order to continue taking these strides, the medium needs a sense of identity and self-worth, otherwise gaming will always be a scapegoat for insane behavior and incomplete homework, rather than recognized as the beautiful thing that it truly is." (Culture, Industry, PS3, PS4, Sony Computer Entertainment, Xbox One)

dedicatedtogamers  +   931d ago
No, it isnt important. Most people don't use a system to "play the classics", and if they do, a lot use a digital distribution system. People act as though backwards compatibility is what makes or breaks a console, but it isnt. Neither 360 nor PS3 have full BC. Wii has BC but thats mostly through the Virtal Console. The majority of gaming systems throughout history haven't had BC.
knifefight  +   931d ago
Hm, it seems your comment isn't really a reply to the article, as it's not really the type you are describing at all.

It takes a different approach and says that it's important because of gaming history and gaming as an important entertainment medium. It's not about people, as you say "buying a system to play the classics." That is also not how in the industry sense it could win the generation. Read the part about dev kits. If someone did that, especially Sony? That could change the face of the console war.

Re: "The majority of gaming systems throughout history haven't had BC."
^ I refer you to paragraphs 20 through 22.
cayleee  +   931d ago

I completely disagree BC is very important imo. Anyone who has bought a good number of games this gen will tell you this.

I have about 160 games on Steam, they arent going anywhere.
GalacticEmpire  +   931d ago
Luckily Sony is preserving their gaming history with Gaikai. Eventually every single Playstation Game from Crash Bandicoot to The Last of Us will be available to play. That's nearly two decades of awesome games that have defined 3+ generations of consoles over 3 new, successful multimedia formats.
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LOL_WUT  +   931d ago
I think it's important to some degree but, you can't deny that it'll be a deciding factor for many.
kevnb  +   931d ago
are you drunk? I don't even know what you are saying.
SilentNegotiator  +   931d ago
"I have about 160 games on Steam, they arent going anywhere"

Neither are console games.
1nsaint  +   931d ago
@galacticempire yeah but you will have to buy the same games a second time.
SilentNegotiator  +   931d ago
If it's about the importance as an entertainment medium (and ONLY about that), then there was no need for "and could win the next generation"
cayleee  +   931d ago

First cloud gaming is still unproven, despite what Onlive, Gakai or Sony would like to have us believe.

Second its not the same as having a physical copy, not every one has reliable connection 24 /7.

Lastly you will be paying for it again, what happens to people who for instance bought God of war 1, then bought it again with the HD remake and now will again be expected to pay up for Cloud services. Where does it end?

I hope console makers can finally follow a more PC like route and actually start of offer BC from this gen onwards as in stick with X86 for a very long time, just the way we have it on PC. No worries about losing investment on software.
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papashango  +   931d ago
There is no BC on PC per se. BUT whenever Steam has seasonal sales. Publisher packs with games dating back generations ago are ALWAYS popular.
MysticStrummer  +   931d ago
BC isn't important to me at all. I had it and never used it. I would have bought the two HD collections I bought regardless. Movies are a fairly important entertainment medium, but you don't get guaranteed BC with them when a new format comes out. A vocal minority cares about this issue. The masses don't.
zeal0us  +   931d ago
Majority of gaming systems throughout history didn't have backward compatibility mainly because of the technology back then was limited. Not only that but technology back then was expensive.

BC isn't what makes or breaks a console but it can be deciding factor for some people who want that feature in the console.

I won't get my hopes up that Gaikai will support majority of the games from PS1 to PS3. The PS1 had over 2,400 games. The PS2 had over 3,800 games and the PS3 had over 700 games. Thats over 6,900 games altogether. Regardless of amount of games, Sony will still need the licenses/rights to stream the games.
Jazz4108  +   931d ago
I gurantee with Gaiki you will pay to play these games again and thats not bc. The new xbox however is rumored to have a second engine in it identical to the 360 for complete bc if you believe ms leaked documents. I at least know they are definitly considering it and we know sony cant because of the cell. This coukd be huge for ms as a selling point since you will not have to buy your games again when you have the disc and dont want multiple gaming systems all ocer yohr house especially if you are allready buying a xbox and ps4.
StrongMan  +   931d ago
My fat PS3 has Full BC, Xbox 360 only plays a hand full of Xbox 1 games.
Irishguy95  +   931d ago
My Ps3 has no BC, my Xbox 360 red ringed.

@ Galactic Empire down there. It COMPLETELY depends on the system. For sony to do BC in Ps4, it would cost them a Ps3 inside the Ps4. For MS to do it...not much...because the hardware between the 360 and nextbox will not be completely alien to one another.

Also Strongman

Hardly a handful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...
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wishingW3L  +   931d ago
my phat PS3 is dead and if I send it to Sony they will only give me a slim or something but they will not repair it. =/

I want BC.
Derekvinyard13  +   931d ago
Don't agree with dedicated,
mav805  +   931d ago
3 of the 15 consoles I've ever bought had backwards compatibility and it's never even crossed my mind as a factor in whether to buy or not. If you want to play PS3/Xbox360 games, keep your PS3/Xbox360. The machine may not last forever, but it will last long enough until other options for playing those games become available.
speedninja  +   931d ago
I agree. I'm getting a PS4 release day and its not to play old PS3 games, I'll be playing PS4 Games. If I need Backwards compatibility I'll turn the PS3 on.
hobohunterz  +   931d ago
Yea people just being cry baby's for the few times they would actually use backwards compatibility, they should be busy playing next gen games and if they want to play older ones use the console that was designed to play the game.
MariaHelFutura  +   931d ago
The question is how many times will you actually use it?

I used my PS3 to play SOTC and GOW2. Which I bought in HD aswell.

I used my 360 for nothing, since I didn't own an original Xbox.
MikeMyers  +   931d ago
dedicatedtogamers, it's not a deal breaker but it is an option many of us have now come to expect. As we continue to keep our existing accounts with our Trophies/Achievements, history, friends and so on a lot of us would like to carry our content with us as well. I have lots of games I bought off of the online stores that I would love to keep, that is one form of Backwards Compatability. The other of course are our physical games. It's just things we come to expect now. We had CD players and then DVD players that also played CD's and now bluray players that play DVD's and CD's as well. It is all media that would be nice to be able to transfer over without having multiple devices connected. The PS2 really brought Backwards Compatibility forward, so why go backwards?
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kamikazepikmin  +   931d ago
shut up
maniacmayhem  +   931d ago
I think it is important especially to me since I havn't played nearly half of the gamesw i really wanted to and now the new generation is here?

"buuuuut keep your old console"

Listen, it's all about convenience, I bought the fat 60 gig ps3 because not only did my ps2 die but i still had a crap load of ps2 games to still play and finish. Same goes for my 360, I had games for my Xbox 1 I still didn't finish.

Not to mention I don't have the shelf space for that many multiple consoles. It's hard enough fitting all three consoles plus the cable box, plus the stereo surround sound center under and next to my TV.

I wouldn't say majority. I think the majority did have it dating all the way back to the Atari 5200.
TAURUS-555  +   931d ago
tbh i only play classics from time to time the important thing is to play the current gen games
decimalator  +   931d ago
I think streaming is the best approach to bc. At this point most systems at least have Internet access available, at least for people who care enough to want bc.

I do agree, bc is important. But I don't think it's so important it has to be native hardware bc. It is more important early in the generation when the software library is small. I would be ok with a higher priced sku that includes hardware bc, but you would need essentially the majority of the innards of a ps3 to stuff into the ps4. so, track on the majority of the 299 price tag as well.
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jimbobwahey  +   931d ago
I think streaming is the worst approach for backwards compatibility since you have the latency problems with controlling the game, and you also end up having to pay for the game you already own yet again.

Native backwards compatibility is superior in every regard since there's none of the technical issues associated with streaming and you can play all the games that you already own, rather than having to pay again.
WeAreLegion  +   931d ago
He played Knack on stage with the Vita. 1:1 ratio. I didn't think it was possible yet, but I witnessed it with the PS4. It'll work.
creatchee  +   931d ago
There's a huge difference in streaming something over a local network and via the internet.
ftwrthtx  +   931d ago
If they would make it so you could pop in the PS3 disc, then play the game via streaming, that would be a win for everyone IMO.
LOGICWINS  +   931d ago
yess  +   931d ago
And i am allmost sure Sony will figure something like that out, they know..

My personal opinion, i couldn't care less, when PS4 comes out, i have moved on and wont look back, just play the new games comming for it.

If i should get the urge to play some old games, i still have all my consoles fully functioning, and i think in my family alone, there are at least 5 PS3's and a couple of Xbox'es + PS2 and PS1

I will live...
Wedge19  +   931d ago
The perfect answer is BC by streaming, but add disc and trophy support, etc. If you have the disc, it would be great to be able to play the HD collection at a reduced price.
GalacticEmpire  +   931d ago
Backwards compatibility, probably the most over rated thing in gaming. 90% of consoles in history have not had BC or have had a half-assed approach to it and they've done just fine. Sure it's a good marketing point but people need to step back from their knee-jerk outrage and just think about what they'd rather have:

A system with BC that could cost upwards of $600/£450


A system w/o BC that would cost around $400-500/£350-400

When they are in the store buying a console it's amazing how many people would change their mind about BC if they could save fifty to a hundred bucks.
LordHiggens  +   931d ago
I'd pay the extra price gladly.
mistertwoturbo  +   931d ago
You would, but a majority of gamers won't. From a business perspective, it would make more sense to sell millions more units than to please a few hundred gamers. That's the sad truth and reality of the matter.

My personal opinion, is that while it is great to have B/C, it's more of a luxury feature meaning it's not necessary to me. If I still wanted to play PS3 games, I'll keep my PS3. I did the same thing with the PS2. I figured I would keep my PS2 games, but since the PS3 came out my PS2 collected dust and in fact I haven't touched it since.

But I know there are folks out there that get nostalgic and wants to re-live their old titles. To them, I say keep your current hardware and don't expect any B/C going forward. Also don't moan and complain that the console makers aren't including it as a feature either.
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Unicron  +   931d ago
People seem to latch on to whatever component is missing as "the key to winning." This gen it's been all about 360 missing BluRay, or PS3 missing crossgame chat. BC is nice, but I feel more people would be for a $400 console without it in face of another $600 price tag.
wishingW3L  +   931d ago
PS3 was $600 because of the blu-ray drive and the Cell not BC. They removed BC because they were removing anything they could to reduce the price at all cost in a very desperate manner to spur sales.
mistertwoturbo  +   931d ago
Absolutely agree. People would rather pay lower prices than to pay more for features they probably won't use. I'd rather pay $400 for a PS4 vs $600 for a PS4 with B/C. That's just not very good budgeting.
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DigitalSmoke  +   931d ago
Its not importand and the PS3 generation is proof of this.
If you like PS2 games, keep your PS2 hooked up to the TV, it'll cover dust faster then the HDDVD drive or Kinect.

HD remakes are very cool though, if they get a 15$ price tag like they do now its very well worth at times.
wishingW3L  +   931d ago
if BC wasn't important then the market for the HD collections wouldn't exist. Just think about it....
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AceofStaves  +   931d ago
If BC was important, the PS3 would have sold much better at launch.
Hicken  +   931d ago
What is this conspiracy theory you have going on here?

HD collections aren't nearly as profitable as simply releasing digital versions of the games, which people would still pay for, if all they wanted was to play last gen's games on this gen's system.

I'm not sure what you're trying to get at, honestly.
OpenGL  +   931d ago
I believe it is important but not necessarily a deciding factor if there are other major discrepancies between the platforms. If the PS4 and Xbox 720 are basically identical in power and feature set, but the 720 also has Xbox 360 backwards compatibility it could become a deciding factor, but this may not be an issue for many potential customers.
strickers  +   931d ago
What percentage of gamers for consoles use BC on consoles with old games ????
According to gamers a large percentage care about BC BUT Sony and MS will tell you less than 10% actually use it. It costs those companies and the consumer lots of money.
If you feel THAT strongly about it, use your old console.
I had 3 connected this Gen but next gen it will only be ps4. The ps3 will either go next to it or move to another room. Not a big deal in any way.
Kratoscar2008  +   931d ago
I 100% agree, the Vita is proof (Between other factors) of that.
NYC_Gamer  +   931d ago
That feature means nothing to me since i'm keeping my 360 and PS3
wishingW3L  +   931d ago
and then in a few years when they break (because it's gonna break because the PS3 uses lead free solder) and the only way to buy another one is through Amazon or something only to pay for a used one that could break at any moment too.
NYC_Gamer  +   931d ago
I'll just have to buy another PS3 just like have done already when my 60gb broke..I'm not gonna go into panic mode because PS4 doesn't support traditional backwards compatibility.
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GribbleGrunger  +   931d ago
It's a simple choice: Do you offer full BC and so stop sales of the console you are making a profit from, or do you NOT offer BC and keep selling the console you make a profit from whilst selling the next gen console you lose money on? For MS it has been the former (so far) and for Sony it's been the latter (since PS2).

This has to be balanced with the fact that those that buy the BC enabled console may well pass their older console onto a family member or sell it to someone else. This then becomes an issue of 'software' sales and not 'hardware' sales, which of course pleases developers ...

So clearly it depends on your point of view. With Sony struggling financially it would make more sense to concentrate on hardware sales so BC wouldn't be a priority, but Microsoft have no such problem so developer relations would probably be the better strategy.

From that I could only assume a probability:

720: Yes, full BC (probably)
PS4: No, Gaikai option later (probably)
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-Falaut-  +   931d ago
I have a feeling "cross game chat" will be replaced with "backwards compatibility" in the next battle of consoles on the internets. Here's a sample

payintwce4netflix: Ya well the PS3 sucks because it can't even cross game chat.

payintwce4netflix: Ya well the PS4 sucks because it can't even play old games.

Ulf  +   931d ago
PS4 BC would require a several billion dollar investment, by requiring Sony to use a Cell v2 as their CPU. XBox 720 Xenon/Xenos BC would require something similar, since emulating 3 PPC cores is not exactly "easy" -- it would basically require cores which had the same instruction sets... i.e. PowerPC cores. Billion dollar investment, and extreme consumer dissatisfaction at the price point says hi.

3rd party devs would be so thrilled to have their wares both competing with old games, as well as making the next gen just as hard to develop for as the last. /s

Someone slap these folks in the face with a dose of reality. BC would be nice. It'd also be STUPID and IMPRACTICAL for these companies to support it, without going the way of the Wii U -- barely an upgrade over the current gen.

PS3 + PS4 would cost you less than a BC PS4. No one has taken your right to own a PS3/360 away. Get over it.
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ALLWRONG  +   931d ago
Or... Sony just wants to resell you old games like they did with "remakes" on the PS3.
DigitalRaptor  +   931d ago
You try too little dude.

None of those games were "remakes". They were remasters - look up the definition. It's just like when studios remaster their shows and films to release in higher definition for people that want more clarity.

No one is forcing you to buy them, and it's not anti-consumer to provide an upgrade for those that like that sort of thing. So just like with the old films and television shows, offering old games with more clarity, definition and content is no bad thing, especially with the quality and value Sony's HD re-release packages give you.

I guess Microsoft doesn't have a digital store where they sell you old Xbox games, huh? oh wait...
SmokingMonkey  +   931d ago
So next gen is going to won by the ability to play last gen games?!


Can't wait to play Killzone Shadow Fall on my PS4, and I can't wait to play Last of Us on my PS3.

Sony FTW
Ambivalent_  +   931d ago
Right, because the main reason for buying a next gen console is to play last gen games...
knifefight  +   931d ago
The article doesn't say that, though. You are speaking as if it does. >_>

What is your response to the part about the dev kits?

And the part about physical game preservation, and how gaming can't be taken seriously?
Jek_Porkins  +   931d ago
I think backwards compatibility is pretty important, I was glad when Nintendo added that to the Wii U, it means you can play hundreds of great Wii games on the Wii U if you haven't already done so.

People who say "Just keep your old console" aren't being realistic, I own a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii, Dreamcast and a ton of other consoles, I don't (and cant) hook up 10 consoles at once, and while the older ones are fun to break out from time to time, I own 250 Xbox 360 games, 75 PS3 and about 70 Wii titles. I still haven't gotten around to playing over a hundred of these, and with the ecosystems Sony and Microsoft have implemented this generation, I think it's more important then ever to have BC.

I admit I didn't play a lot of the last generation of games because there were no Achievements or Trophies, that isn't the case anymore. Also, we damn well know there will be bare months for the new consoles, the Wii U is a perfect example of this, so it'd be nice if you could pop in a 360 game in the 720 and play if you want to...without unhooking and hooking up consoles.

So would BC win a generation? Probably not, but it would be a nice feather in the cap because at the end of the day...EVERY SINGLE GAMER WANTS THAT FEATURE.
just-joe  +   931d ago
Backwards Compatibility also makes it much easier to transition from on gen to another. With games still coming out on the PS3, most people will probably hold off on the PS4 and wait until next year, because they spent their money on PS3 games.
Jek_Porkins  +   931d ago
Exactly, this was actually a problem when the PS3 came out, a lot of people were buying PS2 games and playing it on their PS3's, for a while I was playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 on my PS3 before any significant games came out that I wanted.
ALLWRONG  +   931d ago
MS said a few years back that all 360 games, gamertags, arcade games, tv/movie/music, achievements, and dlc would continue to be supported after 360. It will be interesting to see if that still holds true.

Sony however are kings of selling you games you already own. From what Sony announced people may have to pay to play PS3 games on the PS4.
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DigitalRaptor  +   931d ago
I never owned Ico or Sly Cooper or Ratchet & Clank before I decided to buy the collections, and I'm sure that also goes for a large number of other people, so trying to use that as a negative is really weak and desperate attempt to downplay, especially when a PS2 is much much cheaper than a PS3 and its games are widely available.

If Sony forces me to pay to play PS3 games I already own on my PS4 (which I somehow doubt), I will simply turn off my PS4, switch on my PS3 and boot up the disc/download. It's not difficult, and it's not like I'm going to box my PS3 and put it in the cupboard when I get a PS4. And it's nothing on being forced to pay to access my own Internet bandwidth like MS charges you for. That's not even a choice, but not to play your games online.
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DivineAssault  +   931d ago
Not important to me but i can see it being that way for other people who have to trade in their older consoles to pay off the new ones.. I would feel a bit upset if i had to sell all my PS3 games to pay off PS4.. Thank god im fortunate enough to have a good paying job so i can still keep my it & still buy PS4..

But how often do gamers really play any of their older games? I know i played maybe 2-5 PS1 games on my PS2 & maybe 1-3 PS2 games on my 60GB PS3 so its no biggie to me.. Giving them up wouldve felt crappy but i see why sony has to do this.. I sold my PSP & all the UMDs i had when i bought my vita & i only miss one game that i cant buy off the network (Valkyrie Profile) however i still have it on PS1 so i was able to get over that.. I must say it does suck if ppl are forced to give up all PS3 games but if theyre streamable through gaikai, i wouldnt worry about it (if u have good internet connections)..

I want the ABILITY to play my PS3 games on PS4 but i want to play PS4 games even more so ill get over it.. Plus im keeping my PS3 in my bedroom for a blu ray player & to play my PS1-PS3 collection.. U never know, Sony might have gaikai as an add on feature to ps plus members for a small up charge & have all their greatest games upscaled to native 1080p/60FPS in the future
Mr-SellJack  +   931d ago
who would like playing old games seriously?i would only do that if they're games i loved but only in HD or a collection
AceofStaves  +   931d ago
Backwards compatibility is a nice feature, but it's not a deciding factor. This console generation proved that consumers, on the whole, weren't willing to pay extra for that capability, given how poorly the PS3 sold at launch.

I have a launch model PS3 and I've only put 2 of my PS2 games in it since then, both of which I never finished on PS3. There are so many PS2s around that it's not difficult to find a PS2 to play your PS2 games on.
Jakens  +   930d ago
I want BC currently and from now on.
shanic77  +   930d ago
Is that Bill Nye the Science Guy I see??
Bowzabub  +   930d ago
Sorry, I tend to buy new games before old games.
knifefight  +   930d ago
Didn't read the article, eh?

The aspect of backwards compatibility that you're talking about really what this is talking about.

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