Ok, so before I even begin this I need to take some time to get something out. I probably will hardly ever use the ps4’s ability to play ps2 games. Unlike most, I have a pretty big library of ps2 games and I cannot see myself buying over any of those games just to play in HD with trophy support. I was looking forward to being able to pop my currently owned discs into my ps4 and have the HD version downloaded to my ps4 for free so I could re-live some of my best gaming memories. That was MY expectations and seeing that that is not what we are getting, this feature is not very useful to ME. Now with that being said, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this thing.
A lot (not all) of the people complaining about this feature at the moment are either totally missing the point of it or are the ones involved in brand name assassination. And I must admit, even I got caught up in this war on BC. You see, the problem stems when you approach this issue with the incorrect mind-set in the first place and can be quickly rectified with one simple realization, this is not backward compatibility. What is backward compatibility you may ask? Well as Wikipedia puts it “In telecommunications and computing, a product or technology is backward compatible (BC) or downward compatible if it can work with input generated by or meant to an older product or technology such as a legacy system. If products designed for the new standard can receive, read, view or play older standards or formats, then the product is said to be backward-compatible”. Or to state it simply, BC is the ability to play old medium on new hardware. An important thing to notice is that BC does not dictate an upgrade of services, features or design of the older medium in order for it to be considered backward compatible.
Why is this important? The answer is simple. Gaming is the only activity where its users expect to be given this ability for free. In no other area is this questioned or challenged. Let’s say you bought the best of ABBA album when it first released on cassette tape in 1975, can you go back to the record company that released that album, show them your cassette tape WITH proof of purchase and demand the new CD version with upgraded audio for free? They would probably hit you with a pie in the face before they threw you out. What about if you bought star wars on VHS in 1983, can you now go to Walt Disney with your VHS copy and demand the digitally enhanced bluray version for free? Let’s take this even further. What if you started a network+ course in 2013 and did not complete it, you then decided to do it again in 2015, can you take your old network+ course books to the publisher and demand the new books for free? It’s even worse with textbooks because they usually only change a couple of lines of text between releases. The answer to all those questions is NO. Yet when it comes to gaming this is considered a right.
The next problem stems from people equating this with PSNow, which is somewhat similar and is also very misunderstood. People often make the comment when talking about these two topics “why the hell are they charging me to play games I already own?” The answer is simple, like psnow the ability to play ps2 games on your ps4 is so that you can play games you DO NOT own (this is why what sony is doing is not considered BC). The way some people write on the internet you would swear that they own the entire ps library of games. The average gamer does not even own one sixteenth of a consoles entire library. Who exactly is forcing you to purchase games you already own? And if you don’t own a game and want to play it chances are you’re not gonna run out and buy the old version just to get it upgraded, you’ll buy the upgraded version from the get-go.
Now the argument would be that it’s not costing them anything to upgrade the game to 1080p so we shouldn’t have to pay them for that but then my question would be if it doesn’t require anything to do that why can we not do it now? Work by programmers and/or developers must be done, whether it be on the system firmware or the game itself in order for the system to read the older format and add features such as trophy support upgraded resolutions and other things not possible with older games. These things don’t happen by magic. Emulators don’t just drop out of the sky and into your system.
The thing is I know many people will come here and accuse me of making excuses for sony and even though I would partially admit to that it doesn’t make anything I stated any less true. Also, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel annoyed about this whole having to purchase games you already own if you want to play them with additional features. I would have preferred if this was for free but it doesn’t change the fact that I cannot allow my wants and desires to cloud my sense of reasoning. The moment you do you become no different that the anita sarkeesians of the world.
It’s great that we had BC (in its most basic form) in the old days of the ps2 and early ps3’s. And it’s great that a company like Microsoft is doing it now with upgraded resolutions for free (I really commend them for that), but the reality is in no way are we entitled to this. We do not have a right to it. It is a feature that is great to have and should be applauded but as gamers we also need to get out of this sense of entitlement we seem to have. The one area however I will admit to having serious issues with is the $15 price per game. Come on sony, you can do better than that.