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Gamers and Backward Compatibility: A Lack of Reasoning

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)[1] 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.

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BillytheBarbarian2021d ago

I think the thing I'm happy about is that I dumped a lot of money into Xbla and that MS wasn't initially having them transfer over to X1 was stupid and greedy. Sell us the same games twice. Now they are allowing me to access to some, and more down the road. It should have been there in the first place. It was another reason to keep another piece of hardware hooked up to the tv and a reason so many are waiting to buy in to next generation.

I still have my Sega consoles but I love having Streets of Rage Vintage collection on my X1. If you love a series enough you'll buy an upgrade or update.

donthate2021d ago (Edited 2021d ago )

To be fair, MS didn't know if they could make BC possible. Phil Spencer really pushed for it, and Xbox team did it.

More amazingly is MS willingness to give it away for free. MS could have came out with some BS reasoning about licensing to charge you a small fee or add a few features (like Sony), but they didn't. They gave it all away free!

Got to give props where it is due.

Picnic2021d ago (Edited 2021d ago )

It was Microsoft's 'get back in gamers good books' move.

Just like free online on PS3 was Sony's.

I think Sony's was a little more generous even if it didn't occur this gen. But,then, GDDR5 was this gen's 'generosity' from Sony. They'd can't afford to give up their PSNow cash cow. And why should they if people choose to disrespectfully get rid of their PS2/PS3, if they ever owned one. It's not like PS4 is desperate for sales. Although I like any console maker best when they're hungry for sales so I hope for the NX to shake up Sony's apple cart.

donthate2021d ago


I'm not sure how Sony was generous with PS3? They gave away PSN, mostly because charging for it would be outrageous considering it took Sony until this generation to even be close to XBL. The real gift from Sony was PS+ in my opinion, but back then the game selection was extremely poor and the PSN hack, well....

Also, GDDR5 isn't a generosity at all. It was a design decision based on a gamble that panned out. Would you have said the same if GDDR5 modules would cause the PS4 to have 4GB of RAM?

It was basically pure luck 8GB GDDR5 modules were available within a reasonable price range.

Personally, I think MS has been extremely generous this generation thanks to Phil Spencer and new Xbox team.

uth112021d ago

PS Now with the new $99/yr pricing is an amazing value. It's about $8 a month for access to 400-some games and growing. I've been using my 7 day trial to see if I want to subscribe.

Yet gamers make it sound like PS Now is a total rip off, but yet EA access at $5/month for 14 games (and growing) is an awesome deal.

donthate2021d ago (Edited 2021d ago )

EA Access has recent games for current generation, whereas PS Now has 400 old games that can be had for $2 at GameStop. On top of that, owning the game gives you a far better experience than the laggy experience with encoding artifact game play.

Keep in mind that GameFly also has thousand of games for $9/month including the latest releases!

There are things Sony does right with Playstation, but PS Now isn't one of them. It was a total rip off from the start, and Sony has just been dropping the price ever since.

Christopher2017d ago

If you want PS Now, that's fine. But, personally, I'm not paying extra to stream games I already own.

PS Now being a rip off is dependent on what it provides to the individual, so opinion on it varies from people like me who own all those games already and have the hardware to those who never owned a PS3.

johndoe112112017d ago

That's the thing, PSNow is not a ripoff regardless of who you are. If you don't own the games then it's an opportunity for you to play them. If you already own the games then you have no need to rent them. If someone no longer owns a ps3 to play the games then chances are they have already moved on to current gen and the thing is who's gonna sell their system and keep the games? If someone sold their system they would have also sold their games.

Pogmathoin2016d ago

Good lord, terrible comparisons.... My new bluray player does not have a vhs cassette player.... But my console can play bluray, dvd, and cd...... Let me think.... PS2 games come on... Ummmm no, not betamax..... Ummm not floppy disk... Oh yeah..... Dvd....... It just needs to know you have the physical disc..... The same way your PS4 or X1 knows when you want to play your installed game..... Also, PSnow is not good value.... You have that and Ps2 BC..... Both charging...... Its called clutching at straws..... A pig with lipstick is still a pig.......

Z5012021d ago (Edited 2021d ago )

"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?"

THIS times 1000.

*From a similar blog comment section.

MrBeatdown - "Your convenience isn't Sony's problem, and was never promised to you when buying your first copy of the game or a PS4.

Do you do this to every company? Planning to demand free Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copies of Star Wars just because you have it on VHS?"

SPOT ON! It's called entitlement.

If I have a physical copy of ____. Why would I buy ____ again?

"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"

Bingo! Someone gets it.

*inb4 "But my PS2 broke"

Again. What happens when the only VCR in your house dies? You buy another, right? We didn't/don't demand Toshiba put VHS playback in CURRENT Blu-ray players, do we? But Sony HAS TO put BC in every PS4. smh

s45gr322021d ago

Ok what about DVD. As a consumer I replaced my vhs movies with DVD movies guess what, I can still watch my DVD movies on PS4, my blu-ray player, PC, laptop, etc. I can still listen to my music on the cd discs I bought on my pc, laptop, blu-ray player, etc. All my digital films I pirated years ago, I can still see them today. So, umm yeah guess only Sony is not allowed to offer bc; yet, its competition is allowed to do it. Man you guys will look for anything to defend your favorite corporation. I am not a corporate slave, I took a ROP class in customer service/retail and merchandise. The phrase that my teacher taught me was:


My former boss at Einstein Brothers taught me:


So think about that before being a corporate slave.

gangsta_red2021d ago

EXACTLY, this type of slave mind only because they prefer a company is baffling. And trying to compare BC to two different formats is just plain stupid.

If I have a DVD I expect that DVD to play in any DVD machine.

Sony has made emulation possible on their PS4 consoles but instead of giving this to their users. Instead they decide to trickle out PS2 games and charge a fee.

It's amazing that these types of fans will sacrifice their consumer rights, convenience and above all just plain and simple logic only because they're allegiance to a BILLION dollar world wide company.

It's funny that most here saying "Sony doesn't owe you anything", were up in arms about MS's DRM for XBO. I guess some pick and chose who owes them what.

johndoe112112021d ago

I'm gonna respond to both you and gansta red here and I'm probably not gonna respond to any replies you post because it's impossible to reason with people hell bent on looking at a situation negatively.

Neither of you described what sony is doing. This is NOT putting your ps2 games into your ps4 and playing what you played 15 years ago. If you bought the original starwars movies on dvd and placed it in a bluray player, the bluray player would NOT automatically upgrade the dvd version to the bluray version with the additional special effects, additional disc content and the bluray quality video. CUT THE BS. These are two completely different things. What you two are describing is pure backward compatibility, what I just described and what sony is doing is a form of upgrading. Regardless of whether YOU choose to see it that way or not, that is what is happening.

Just as I stated in my blog, if you bought the original starwars movies on dvd and wanted the new upgraded bluray version you will have to BUY IT AGAIN and none of you would dare loose your bloody minds and go and demand that disney give you the bluray version for free. NONE OF YOU.

If it was as simple as just creating an emulator to give you all these features then neither sony nor microsoft would have had to work with developers to get the games running. They would have simply created the emulator and you would be able to run any bloody thing you wanted on the systems. Additional work has to be done.

Hooray that microsoft is doing it for free, but let's not fool ourselves. Microsoft is in a desperate situation and at this point would be willing to sell their mothers to get back in good graces with gamers. If the xbone didn't almost completely sink the xbox division do you think you would be getting GWG right now? HELL NO.

If sony wanted me to pay for me sticking my ps2 game into my ps4 and me playing that game in 480i on my 46" HDTV, then I would completely agree with you, but we both know that is not the case. Now I expect some ridiculous response completely misrepresenting the point I am explaining and arguing for something that is completely different from what I stated.

ApocalypseShadow2021d ago

Forget it John. They are too negative to listen to reason.

Z5012021d ago

Lol! Why bypass the VHS comment, then go straight to DVD?

rainslacker2021d ago (Edited 2021d ago )

You've brought a blu-ray player with the expectation of being able to play DVD's in it, because that's what the companies have given you. It's not mandated that it be made available. If the company took that ability away from your current system, then you'd be right to complain, because you already paid for it with that expectation in mind.

If they took it out of all Blu-Ray players going forward, you'd have a right to not buy them because they don't provide you the functionality you desire, but that doesn't mean that it was ever something they had to give you, or are required to give you. You would have the ability to purchase a DVD player though, or use it on other devices where it's deemed allowed.

The customer is always right is a commonly misused term. It's more about the customer has to think they are getting what they want, even when they don't. The customer, more often than not, is wrong, and the mentality of they should get whatever they want is toxic to many companies, and drives people who work in service or retail industry insane because of the sense of entitlement that comes from believing the customer is always right.

Treating your customers well is not the same as giving them the keys to the store. A real business class, and not some happy feely sponsored by your company because they were sold on marketing hype would teach you the principals of customer service much better. This is where the current BC argument is at.

All that is immaterial to the topic of BC though, because Sony never promised BC, never provided it with the PS4, stopped supporting it on the PS3 for PS2 games, but never took away what was already sold there.

Customers, who never purchased a product with the promise or intent of a feature, are now demanding they be given that feature.

If you walked into best buy and purchased an iPhone 6, and then in a couple months went in and demanded they give you an iPhone 7, they'd laugh you out of the store...or try to get you to upgrade. But if you went on with this entitled attitude that you deserve it for free because you brought a different product, the police would likely be the ones escorting you out of the store, but I'm sure the manager would do their best to try and play the "customer is always right" card before calling them.


"If I have a DVD I expect that DVD to play in any DVD machine"

And it will because it's a DVD machine. It will also happen to play in blu-ray players because it's enabled to do so.

But on the topic of BC, a PS2 game will still play in a PS2. It will even play in some PS3's. It just won't play in the PS4, because it's not allowed. It's been that way since launch, and Sony never hid the ability wouldn't be available.

Just because Sony made an emulator does not mean that it is yours to get for free. Would be great if Sony did do that, but they aren't. Seems no one wants to talk about how great it would be to have like what happened with the X1 before MS announced it was coming. Seems all they want to talk about is how they should get it for free because they are entitled to it.

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Rookie_Monster2021d ago ShowReplies(3)
_-EDMIX-_2020d ago

Agreed with you and the author 1000x.

Concertoine2019d ago (Edited 2019d ago )

Im not going to argue rebuying these games should be free just because 360 games are, since honestly it was just a generous move on MS' part.

But these games are 10-15 bucks guys. It's impossible to say Sony has a better system for BC. If these games were 5 bucks or sold in a generous bundle, there'd be a good argument for Sony here, and isn't that what we want?

And before anyone says it, just because Nintendo commits highway robbery with their Virtual Console doesn't make Sony all good.

Christopher2017d ago

Level-headed response acknowledged and respected. Pretty much what I think most people were thinking who came from owning PS2 games and seeing the $15 price tag on this stuff.

I don't own some of the games they have up, but I refuse to buy them for the outlandish price they're pushing for it. I can get new, modern-day games with great graphics, gameplay, etc. on PC for $15 rather than buying either a game I already own or a game I can pick up at GameStop for $5.

Imalwaysright2017d ago

This is nothing like VHS to DVD or blu ray. If you bought vice city on the PS4 you would in reality be buying the PS2 version. The PS4 "version" is the PS2 being upscaled by an emulator. You are buying the PS2 version for €15. The same version that was released in 2002. If vice city was a movie you would be buying the "VHS" version to play on your PS4.

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ThanatosDMC2021d ago

Completely agree especially the vhs to bluray thing.

s45gr322021d ago

What about DVD/music CDs to blu-ray. Oh that's right it destroys your statement. Pop any DVD movie or music cd into your blu-ray player. My god it works, no the consumer can't or must not play their old collections. For the corporation said so, and the corporation is right and the consumer is an entitled broke ass bitch.

rainslacker2021d ago

It doesn't destroy anything. DVD and CD's are compatible with BR, and DVD's are compatible with BR because the manufacturers deem it available. The PS4 is not compatible with PS2 discs, or PS3 PS2 classics, because Sony has not deemed it available.

Being compatible, and having that compatibility made available are two distinct things, and that's where this whole debate ends up failing because people don't make the distinction, so the debate becomes hostile instead of trying to coax Sony into offering it through more positive means.

Yes it sucks that Sony doesn't offer it for free, but that is their choice, and hating on them at every turn isn't likely to change that. The discussion threads over on their forums of people asking nicely, and making reasonable arguments on why Sony should will probably do that.

The sense of entitlement does not come from wanting the feature, it comes from expecting the feature be made available despite the companies wishes. The act of entitlement is going on rants and trying to demonize the company for it, instead of being a more reasonable person and trying to find a way to make it happen which is agreeable to both parties.

If when I was managing at restraunts, if someone came in with the attitude that I've seen floating around on here, they would eventually be asked to leave and not come back. Not because I have no desire to please the customer, but because that customer was being an ass. When I did that, the restaurants I worked for saw increases in sales and customers, bigger increases in profits, and much happier employees who knew they wouldn't have to put up with so much BS from unreasonable people who think they should get everything free for whatever reason they could come up with.

DefenderOfDoom22020d ago (Edited 2020d ago )

Well, if you have a record player to play your music records , you have the best quality equipment to play your music . That's why currently, records cost more than Cd's .

Imalwaysright2017d ago (Edited 2017d ago )

You are buying the "VHS" version to play on your PS4. The PS4 version is the "VHS" version being upscaled by an emulator. You are paying to use an emulator.

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